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When it comes to mental health, there are tons of factors to take into account, other than what’s going on inside your head. It’s easy to neglect this, but ensuring that you’re taking a holistic approach to mental health is vital. One of the most critical elements in improving mental health and maintaining a healthy mindset is exercise.


According to the Mayo Clinic exercise can help ease depression and anxiety symptoms. By exercising, you can reduce high blood pressure, lower your chances for diabetes and increase your metabolic rate. That’s on top of the general health benefits, which as the National Health Service in the United Kingdom reports, include lower risk of heart disease and stroke, lower risk of various cancers, lower risk of dementia and more.


During exercise, your body releases endorphins, which result in feelings of happiness, according to studies. These chemicals can help individuals with depression and anxiety and can help lift your mood.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that exercise reduces short-term anxiety for adults, as well as improving learning and judgement skills. According to the American Psychological Association, this impact on your mood isn’t just a short-term change – it can help alleviate long-term issues, including depression.

Exercising will give you a greater sense of control over your life, which in turn can give you more confidence. This is no small thing! Making exercise a priority can, in effect, give you compounding mental health benefits.


You will likely have higher energy levels to go about your daily life, and the exercise can help improve your sleep.


Of course, talking about exercise does not solve anything. You’ve got to put in the work!


How long does an exercise session need to be? The Mayo Clinic recommends 30 minutes of exercise per day for three to five days each week. However, the organization notes that as little as 10 to 15 minutes can have an impact.


The National Health Service is stricter in its prescription, saying that 150 minutes is necessary.


There’s a wide range of activities that you can do to exercise. There are the old standards, such as walking, running and bicycling. These are reliable ways to get the blood pumping and are easy to do for most people.

If you’re looking for something that is lower-impact, try yoga. There are plenty of health benefits associated with yoga, and this will be friendlier for your joints than running. Tai Chi is another meditation practice that you could consider.


When it comes to exercise, it’s critical that you find something that you enjoy doing. Exercise is more than just getting out and doing something – it’s a planned physical activity. To keep yourself motivated, it’s important to do something that is easy to convince yourself to keep doing.


If you enjoy plants and gardening, try to step up your gardening game and increase the size of your plant beds. If you are a golfer, try to play a round without using a golf cart.


For those with kids, incorporate them into your exercise plans. Play some soccer with them or grab some rackets and tennis balls and head to the local tennis court.


Exercise is not just about getting into shape physically but also about taking care of your mental health. With so many mental health benefits, getting plenty of exercise is an easy choice.


READ MORE: How Hobbies Can Improve Your Mental Health