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Exercise Your Way To Better Mental Health

Exercise Your Way to Better Mental Health -  Written by Stephanie Haywood of mylifeboost.com
Has the coronavirus pandemic left you feeling down in the dumps? It’s normal to feel anxious about the state of the world right now, but there may be another culprit behind your slipping mental health: a lack of exercise.

The number of Americans who get the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week has plummeted during the pandemic. While services like LiveRight with LR can still bring fitness to you, gym closures and stay at home orders have made it difficult for many people to stay fit. Meanwhile, reports of stress, anxiety, depression, and PTSD are on the rise. Could there be a connection between our lagging exercise habits and poor mental health? Here’s what you need to know.

 

Physical and Mental Health: What’s the Link?

We often talk about mental health and physical health as if they’re two separate entities. In reality, your mind is just one component of your overall physical well-being.

 

Take exercise for example: when you work out, you increase blood supply and oxygen delivery to your brain. This supports brain growth and the formation of new neural connections. The result? Greater brain volume in areas like the hippocampus, which Psychology Today explains plays a key role in memory and emotional regulation.

 

Since the brain and the body are so inextricably linked, it’s no surprise that a sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of mental health problems, not to mention chronic illnesses like heart disease. That’s why it’s so important to stay active even when you’re stuck at home. These tips will show you how you can keep moving to keep your body and mind in the best of health.

How to Exercise at Home During COVID-19

Can’t get to the gym? While it may require a creative use of space, it’s not hard to get a good workout at home with so many resources available online.

  • Use workout apps to access a variety of workouts and videos.
  • Tune into virtual classes from local fitness centers.
  • Book a virtual or in-home session with a LiveRight personal trainer.
  • Find free fitness videos online.
  • Park a treadmill or stationary bike in front of the TV.
  • Get no-equipment workout ideas with a bodyweight workout generator.

 

Keep in mind that streaming workouts adds to the already-heavy load your home internet is carrying due to e-learning and working from home. If constant buffering is disrupting your workouts, it may be time to upgrade to 5G.

 

Depending on where you live, you may have the option of getting outdoors to exercise. Parks, trails, and other green spaces are a great place to stay fit during the pandemic as long as they’re not crowded.

  • Go jogging or cycling.
  • Jump rope in a neighborhood park.
  • Find a quiet trailhead or path to walk, run, or hike.
  • Practice yoga outdoors.
  • Start a garden.
  • Play outdoor games with your kids.

Fitness Habits for a Healthier Mind

Now you know how to stay active during the pandemic, but you need more than short-term solutions to achieve better mental health. You need to make exercise a lifelong habit.

 

Whether you’re new to fitness or struggling to maintain healthy habits as COVID-19 disrupts routines, these tips from The Art of Manliness will get your body and mind back on track:

  • Start small. It’s easier to commit to small, incremental changes than massive lifestyle shifts.
  • Do something you enjoy — or at least don’t hate.
  • Exercise at the same time each day.
  • Go into every workout with a plan.
  • Aim for consistency over performance.

 

Your mind doesn’t exist in a vacuum. So when your mental health takes a nosedive, ask yourself: What else has changed? If you’re feeling depressed, anxious, or stressed, you may not be giving your body the exercise it needs to keep your brain healthy. With practical, sustainable exercise habits like these, you can put fitness back into your life and start feeling better from head to toe.




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