Exercise can change more than your physical body. Did you know you can move your way to more bountiful mental health? We don’t just mean yoga either (though we love it- and believe that it’s an important part of healing)! Many kinds of exercise can be a powerful benefit to shaping your mental health to reflect a more holistic relationship with the body you nourish with movement.
Create movement your way
There is a nearly limitless way to engage in exercise routines that fuels your fulfillment. From dancing in the kitchen while you cook or trail running to yoga or high-intensity workout routines, there are options to make it what you need. You can move your body in the manner of your choosing. Your exercise can take place at the discretion of your schedule and through the everchanging scope of your personal needs without ever being questioned about its validity.
Exercise can reduce your risk factors for co-occurring disorders
Two of the key ways that exercise supports a healthier relationship with your mind and mood are by helping to improve your sleep and focusing the mind on reducing the power of intrusive thoughts. Better sleep sets you up for a healthier frame of mind, and the feel-good hormone boost exercise provides can reduce lingering anxiety and help you rewrite your response to your mental wellness.
Imagine a day spent in nature, hiking a mountain with stunning views and rugged terrain. When you fall into bed that night, you won’t have so much energy to focus on the niggling anxieties that linger in the quiet. By exhausting the energy reserves in your body, there is a decreased risk of insomnia as you fall into bed for sleep at night.
Similarly, is it possible to dwell on the lingering fog of burnout when you’re trying to remember a complicated series of asana in your yoga class? Breaking the hold of those thoughts on your focus reduces the risk of anxiety playing havoc with other mental health symptoms.
Additionally, exercise can reduce blood pressure and resting heart rate while increasing your body confidence. These things can align to minimize stress on the body and body image, both of which can improve your physical and mental health.
Exercise is not a mental health solution; it’s a holistic tool
Any age. Any movement. Any body. No matter the exercise you choose, it won’t solve your mental health concerns. It won’t cure your depression or alleviate your compulsions. It’s not meant to fix anything, but it can help. Moving your body productively in a manner that feels good to you is a way to reconnect with yourself so that you can rewrite the relationship of wholeness that feeds your future. There is no single way to do this, and there’s certainly no easy one. But a beautiful place to begin is one focused on using the tools that support you now and can grow with you into the future.
Your holistic being is incredibly responsive to the things you use to fuel it. When you change your diet, your body notices in systematic response to the way you’ve chosen to engage with it. It’s like a conversation: your taste buds signal the stomach, which employs the digestive process, and your body begins the myriad of processes that break down your food into usable nutrients and energy.
It does much the same for your mind when you exercise. The uptick in heart rate and engagement of your vascular system signals a waterfall response that triggers different hormones to prepare and engage with the way you’re using your body and its energy to move through your exercise.
You can’t get it wrong
Exercise has something to offer everyone for body, mind, and spirit because no one can get it wrong. There is infinite value in entering a space of healing with the knowledge that this is your choice, and you can create the way that looks and feels for you. From scheduling to activity, your relationship with exercise as a tool for your mental health is yours to cultivate in the ways that feel best for you.
You are choosing to move your body to support your mind, and that choice puts the power of change back into your hands- exactly where it belongs. You are capable of changing your life, one step at a time. With the boost in brain power and sleep that moving your body can provide, you will have more space in your life to focus your energy on changing the things that do not serve you so you can celebrate the things that do.