Why exercise is so important for Mental Health:
Are you feeling down, stressed or anxious? If you’re working from home, then your normal routine has changed. This probably means you’re not exercising as much as you were prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 and might be a reason why you’re feeling these emotions.
If you are feeling like this, then the chances are you’re not alone. Exercise has been an important outlet for many of us to keep both our physical and mental health systems in check.
When these emotions persist for an extended period of time they can start to interfere with work, study, sleep and of course our social lives which has been stunted by social distancing.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions starting to ease slightly, this means exercising in small groups (up to 10 people) outside is now deemed to be safe. Other essential services such as physiotherapy and exercise rehabilitation will also remain available (face to face or telehealth consultations) as an option for exercise education and advice.
However, if something isn’t right, it’s important to get help. Start by communicating with close friends and family, your doctor or someone your comfortable with. There are also support organisations such as Headspace who can help get you back on track. Although sometimes it can be hard to find the motivation to get up and move, 15 minutes of daily exercise has been shown to boost mood, manage stress levels and help improve sleep.
Here are 5 practical tips to help manage your mental health:
Find something you enjoy doing:
This could be kicking the footy, light jogging or walking. Try and find someone to exercise with, this will give you a better chance of adopting a routine.
1. Small steps:
Keep it simple, short distances to start, small/regular volumes, an example might be doing some stairs at home or setting up a small exercise circuit with a friend or family member.
2. Start a mood and exercise diary:
Something is always better than nothing. Set a reminder on your phone and try and stick to it, particularly if you’re sitting at home enduring multiple meetings. Some people find it helpful to write things down about their mood and exercise exertion levels.
3. Download an app:
There are some great mindfulness apps readily available some of which are free. An example might be Moodpath or Youper which have excellent reviews. These can be used in conjunction with the right clinical advice.
4. Ask for help:
Never be afraid to reach out for help. Talking to someone is always a good place to start.