For many in the mental health community, we have all heard about how doctors may encourage patients to take up running, or some other form of exercise, to combat their depression. The irony being that most times those who are depressed have little energy and motivation to get out of bed, let alone into a gym or on a running track. As ridiculous as it sounds, exercise does have many benefits other than just physical endurance, and can be helpful for recovery of mental health and physical conditions.
While any and all forms of physical activity should be encouraged, there are some that are amazing at encompassing benefits for mind, body, and soul. By incorporating them into your weekly schedule, you may feel multiple benefits that will translate into greater wellness overall…
Of course one of the first exercises that comes to mind is Yoga. Not only is it a great activity for beginners who are wanting to get more exercise into their routine, but it is something that can be done anywhere, and by pretty much everyone (some classes tailor to those with disabilities who may otherwise struggle). Not only do you train your body to build strength and flexibility, but you’re also training your mind to focus. I found it particularly helpful in overcoming my own depression, as it was something I could do in my own space, and required little effort to set up.
Mindful Weight Training
Mindfulness as a practice can be applied to a variety of activities, and is something I encourage others to explore. The idea is to connect more with the present moment, by focusing on sensations in and around the body, without judgement. In weight training, there can be a lot of strain put on the body, especially if not done in the correct form. By connecting with how you are breathing, or where there is significant pressure, you may feel a greater ability to train.
While for those of us who have hay-fever may slightly suffer with this, nature walks are a great way to get some gentle exercise in. There are benefits to being around nature, particularly for mental wellbeing, and researchers are continually investigating how being within a green environment can impact our health overall. I also find that going for a walk, particularly in the middle of the day after sitting at a desk all morning, helps me to refresh my brain and sort through the mental clutter of the day.
Do you have any suggestions? Let me and everyone else know in the comments below!