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Exercising for Your Mental Health

Your body and your mind are connected. They are symbiotic. This means is that, when you do something to keep your body healthy, it also benefits your mind. Indeed, research confirms repeatedly that one of the keys to mental health is keeping your body moving, active and fit.

Committing to regular exercise will not just help you keep trim and energetic. National Alliance on Mental Illness states, “Exercise has been researched and validated for treating a variety of mental issues and mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, addictions, grief, relationship problems, dementia and personality disorders. Additionally, exercise alleviates such conditions as bad moods, stress, chronic pain and chronic illnesses.”

As you consider ways to enhance your own mental health, then, consider making regular exercise central. Here are some specific tips to keep in mind:

  • Start slowly. If you are not used to physical exertion, then you probably do not need to run a marathon on Day 1. Pick an outdoor or indoor exercise activity that you enjoy—walking, jogging, playing a sport, or something more tranquil, like yoga—and commit to it.
  • Eat right. Remember that you need to fuel your body to get the most out of your workouts. Ensure that you are eating good meals with real nutrients—not just snacks or fast food.
  • Get enough sleep. Try to get eight hours of sleep every night, ensuring you are rested and at your best for each workout.
  • Get a workout buddy. Working out with a friend can make it far more enjoyable, and it gives you built-in accountability.
  • Make a plan. Stick to a regular workout schedule, but do not put too much pressure on yourself to perform at a certain level; what matters is that you are getting active and keeping yourself healthy—both in body and in mind.

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