8 exercises to boost mental health
Mental health is something that many women struggle with on a daily basis. Whether it's the stresses of work, personal finances, fertility, or living in a constantly busy world, there are enough challenges to make mental health seem like it's something to worry about. And yes, some of these challenges can get out of hand and lead to serious consequences such as suicide. But don't fret! Mental health is not all doom and gloom; you can take steps toward improving your mental well-being. There are exercises for mental health that you can do each day to relax and de-stress. Here are 8 of the best exercises for improving your mental health.
Yoga combats stress, anxiety, and depression by improving the quality of sleep. The poses (asanas) move chi which helps to reset the organs and nervous system. Stress is stored in the lower abdomen, so poses that target that area or open it up will help to release it.
How to Do Yoga
To start, find some comfortable clothes and a mat. The mat should be thick enough to cushion your movements but thin enough that it doesn't get in the way. If you haven't done yoga before, make sure to practice in a location where you can find a wall for support. The following are some of the best postures with their benefits.
- Vajrasana (Sanskrit for diamond posture) is an energetic pose that strengthens the abdominal and reproductive organs. This pose helps to tonify these systems, increase energy and improve digestion.
- Siddhasana (Sanskrit for perfection posture) is good for the circulation of blood, improves digestion, and balances the nervous system. Siddhasana moves chi throughout your body; it also enhances concentration and consciousness during meditation.
- The next posture is called Halasana (Sanskrit for plough pose). This pose helps to open up the lungs and heart and is an excellent posture for relieving stress.
- Paschimottanasana (Sanskrit for West Posture) is a great posture for cleansing the colon and working on digestion. Also known as forward bend, this posture opens up your chest, respiratory system, and shoulders.
Instead of performing some rigorous exercises that make you sweat, why not take an easier route to mental health? Hiking is a great way to de-stress and improve your well- Being. Not only is it a fun way to get exercise and see some beautiful scenery, but also hiking helps to ease stress by simply taking you out of your usual routine. The best hikes for improving your mental health tend to be those that take you into nature in order for the mind and body to decompress from life.
You can find a variety of trails near you. Some great hikes that are close to me include:
Try to hike as often as possible, which can be as little as once a week. Be sure to bring some water and make sure the time spent hiking is worth it by actually getting somewhere beautiful (trees, views, etc.). The more beautiful the hike, the better!
Another great way to exercise your mind and body is by walking. You can find walking paths near you that are suitable for the weather and your ability to hike. Just like hiking, these paths will provide a great way to take in some of your favorite views, as well as promote mental health by taking you out of the hustle and bustle of life.
To make walking more beneficial to your health, add some of the following exercises into your routine. These will improve your balance, blood circulation, and flexibility while also making you stronger in general:
- Lunge walking: Stand upright with your hands on your hips. Take a step forward with one foot and bend the knee until it's at a 90-degree angle. Lift the other leg behind you as if you are doing a curtsey. Return to the original position and then do the other leg.
- Single-leg squat: Kneel down with a tight plank, then stretch your arms out to the side for balance. Keep your back straight and head tilted forward, rooting your arch into the floor. Stand up without actually moving forward. Next, place one foot on the floor, keeping it in contact with the ground, and extend your other leg behind you as if doing a lunge. Return to the original position and repeat with the other leg.
Many people are not aware that meditation is an excellent way to improve your mental health. When you meditate, you are taking time for yourself to be at peace. This is a great way to get your mind and body on the same page and allow thoughts of peace and positivity to flow through your mind.
To start, find a quiet area where you will not be disturbed (best if it's a window that overlooks nature). Wear comfortable clothing and sit upright without any support; do not cross your legs or make them too wide apart. Close your eyes and start to breathe in a relaxed manner. When you breathe in, imagine that your breath is coming from the sky and it's clear and fresh. When you breathe out, imagine the warm and relaxing air coming from deep within the earth.
5. Gym Training
A gym is one of the best places to improve your health in general, but if you are looking to improve your mental health as well, then a gym can provide this as well. Gym training can be an awesome way to build strength, flexibility, and stamina while also giving you a way to meet new people throughout the place. Your mind and body will feel great from the workouts you are doing so don't be afraid to take on some more challenging exercises. When you meet new people at the gym, you are building new friends that will help you achieve your goals and encourage you to continue working out.
Swimming is a great exercise for your mind and body. An excellent way to relieve stress, swimming is also very easy on the joints and muscles. The feeling of being in water can have a calming effect on the body, which helps to de-stress the mind. Also, since you are constantly moving around in the water, swimming will get your blood pumping which could help you sleep better at night. When choosing a swimming pool, it is recommended that you avoid pools that are heated otherwise you will burn calories. The best pools to swim in are open-air.
What about cycling? Cycling is a good alternative for those who do not enjoy walking. For the most part, you can find some great cycling paths that are scenic and easy to ride. When cycling, your mind is still focused on your thoughts and how you feel, which is something that can easily shift your mood from bad to good. Cycling can be a great way to make it through long work days or long commutes, which can be very stressful. Also, there are many cycling groups that you could join in order to meet new people with the same interests as yourself.
Another way to improve your mental health is by dancing. A great way to get your do not only have to be confined to dancing inside, but you can also dance outside as well! Just make sure that you are somewhere safe because it's always good to stay alert. When dancing, your mind should be clear, focusing on your movements and your breathing. This will bring you into harmony with your body and allow you to feel the music within yourself. And if you are with others, dancing can be a great way to relieve some stress while also having fun and meeting exciting new people with similar interests.
While there are many ways to improve your mental health, these are some of the best ones to get you started. It is important to remember that even with life's daily stresses and worries, you must always make time for yourself in order to relax and feel good. When you find these activities enjoyable, your mental health will improve because you know that you are doing something that makes you feel like yourself. This all leads back to finding a routine that works for you and sticking with it.