Mental health is as important as physical fitness for overall wellness
It is common to dedicate regular time for physical fitness; even the ones who blame time for their unhealthy lifestyle do squeeze in a walk or two during the week to stay in shape.
But what about exercise for the mind?
Have you considered the importance of mental wellbeing in your physical health?
Apparently, it is only when the balance between the two is maintained that overall wellness, rather health, is achieved. And that means combining relaxation and the essential rest with exercise. Yes, exercise too. For, certain exercises have been found to be effective in fostering mental wellbeing while improving physical health.
Although running is said to provide a mental boost, it is the specific role it plays in reducing the risk of depression that makes exercise important on all counts. It is not about indulging in rigorous exercises to target specific parts of the body; these are simple physical movements that have long term impact on mental wellbeing.
Physical fitness and mental wellbeing are interrelated – an improved body image can automatically help increase self esteem. Studies have shown that more people are joining a gym or a fitness group with the motive of de-stressing than staying in shape.
Check out activities that can give you a mental lift and help in overall wellness
Walking is, perhaps, not the easiest option to lose weight, like say an hour long session in the gym. But walking is definitely the most affordable and convenient exercise of them all and is the right start for your mental wellbeing. Even short walks in the open can do a whole lot of good in bringing your stress levels down. Interestingly, researchers have found that low intensity exercises can help cultivate positive thoughts.
With yoga gaining international popularity, it is no wonder that fitness experts have realised its potential as a lifestyle experience. Yoga can be easily tailored to fit the physical requirements of different people and has specific breathing exercises that are aimed at calming the mind and helping it focus on positive facets of life. It is believed to be therapeutic in more ways than one.
There is something very calming about cycling in the open air, away from the city. Regulars will, of course, find cycling even within the city precinct enjoyable, but if you are looking for a nature tryst, weekend cycling would be a big boost.
Swimming is believed to be another low impact exercise that can boost mental health easily. Even ten minutes of swimming everyday is said to work.
There is something very happy about the act of dancing. It creates a party mood and is easily associated with socialising. Experts say that when you get into the rhythm of the music with your body, your self esteem also increases.
The most important feature of mental health is, of course, rest and relaxation. It is vital even for physical health. This is of utmost importance when working out becomes an addiction and you lose the balance required to ensure all round wellness. Giving your body the right amount of rest, with quality sleep, is essential. Sleep not only helps you to calm your mind, it also helps restore your body’s energy. Experts recommend 11 to 12 hours of sleep for preschool-aged children, 10 hours for school-aged children, 9 to 10 hours for teens and 7 to 8 hours for adults. The onus is also on ensuring that you get quality sleep, which would otherwise mean waking up feeling tired and lethargic.
While sleep seems natural for the general public, it is relaxation that is, often, sidelined. Like sleep, there are no guidelines to specify the relaxation required in one’s life, but that doesn’t take away the importance of unwinding from everyday stress. Deep relaxation, like meditation, can relieve stress and anxiety and also boost physical health.
In conclusion, one is bound to overemphasise the importance of exercise, in whatever form – for physical wellbeing as well mental health. Exercise can help decrease the stress hormones that have a negative impact on our moods, while boosting confidence and the go-getter attitude.