Your mind health and your body health are intrinsically linked, however just 3/10 people acknowledge that exercise helps their mental health. Picture it, after a long workout session where your body is exhausted to the point of collapse, your mind feels great! This is no coincidence, studies have shown the many, many benefits that working out regularly has on the mind, and how in turn your mental health can push your body to greater limits.
In the last year and a half, our mental health has took a lot. Between COVID, work, social lives and many other factors, we are often left feeling stretched and without the proper resources to cope with any extra demands placed on us, often leading to a breakdown of social relationships or the quality of work in your day to day role. This being said however, our capacity for pressure, wether that’s mental or emotional is personal; with some people coping well under high pressure situations, and others preferring a stress free environment, Remember, everyone is different, and you should never feel that being in either one of those groups is a bad thing.
When under a lot of pressure or stress, be that at work or outside of work, our body triggers a stress response. These are easy to identify and you can probably think back to a time where you have been under stress and your body has reacted in this way. Common signs are; spike in heart rate and blood pressure, rise in body temperate, struggle sleeping and comfort eating or loss of appetite. There is a tried and tested way of reducing these feelings, exercise!
1: It can reduce anxiety and depression
Even a single workout session, outside of regular exercise can have an immediate positive effect on your stress levels, with studies showing just 10-30 minutes of exercise can have a major impact on your mood for the rest of the day. The benefits don’t stop there though, regular exercise as a part of a routine can have a long term impact on your mental wellbeing, no matter the intensity. Low impact, inclusive workouts such as yoga, jogging or even walking the dog for 30 minutes a day 3-5 times a week can act as a powerful stress relief tool, helping ease any anxiety you may be feeling.
2: It lowers blood pressure
Studies have shown that regular exercise its a great way to help lower and control your blood pressure. Working out 3-5 times a week has shown to make your heart stronger, with a strong heart pumping blood around the body more efficiently with less effort. This results in less stress being placed on vital arteries and in turn your blood pressure decreasing.
3: It lowers your heart rate
As we mentioned before, the bodies natural response to high stress/pressurised situations is a spike in heart rate. Relaxation based workouts such as yoga and meditation can provide immediate stress relief through regulating your breathing and bringing your heart rate back down to baseline. Why not find an online yoga instructor and inject some mindful workouts into your daily routine on www.My-VT.com
In addition to this regular exercise will strengthen your heart and lead to a lower resting heart rate, it’s no secret that the best athletes in the world have a low resting heart rate, with Usain Bolt registering an impressive 33bpm, a much lower number than the average of 71-74 for his age!
4: It can help you sleep better
We have all been there, after an exhausting workout your head hits the pillow and poof, you’re fast asleep. As we all can attest to, stress makes it incredibly hard to switch off at night, anxious thoughts means your nervous system is working overtime and being tired and worrying about being tired and your lack of sleep only makes this 10x worse. Studies have shown that 30 minutes of exercise 5 hours before you go to bed will help use up any extra calories and help you get to sleep much faster, also helping improve the quality of your sleep.
5: It improves gut health
The link between the gut and the mind is something that scientists and researchers have poured a lot of time and resource into understanding better. Research has identified a link between the gut and brain, with hormones being released when the mind is under stress, giving those “butterflies” in our stomach that we have all felt once or twice.
Studies have shown that exercise has an impact on gut health, with gut bacteria being healthier and more diverse just 6 weeks after incorporating exercise as a part of a routine. This means that activity needs to be regular however to ensure that the gut remains healthy.
And there you have it, 5 benefits to the mind from workout out daily. Make sure to incorporate these into your routines and start reaping the benefits immediately.
Thanks for reading,
The MyVT Team
Now to the boring part: Remember to consult a doctor or licensed medical professional before making any changes to your workout routine or schedule and the contents of this article are not meant to be taken as medical advice.