It’s no secret that our society is always on the search for happiness. As humans, we are constantly wondering what we can add to our lives to make it more enjoyable and less stressful. You are always being told that adding exercise to your daily routine is great for your health, but is there a connection between your physical health and mental well-being?
The short answer is, yes, there definitely is. Everyone suffers from being stuck “in a rut” at some point in their lives. That feeling of being unbalanced, feeling depressed, feeling helpless, and just being emotionally “unwell” in general. For some, that feeling comes in short little bursts and for others it seems to hang around longer, decreasing their quality of life. This is where a good physical fitness routine can help get you out of the rut.
The fact that physical exercise is a great way to get your mental well-being back on track really isn’t talked about much. Instead, articles just focus on how good it is for your body and for fitting in to your skinny jeans. This should be talked about more in my opinion. Research has shown that exercising has an effect on the release and uptake of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are known as the “feel good chemical” because they are the body’s natural painkillers. Aside from helping relieve pain, they also induce feelings of pleasure or euphoria. Below are a few tips on how to start your physical path to mental well-being.
You Need To Crawl Before You Can Walk
The first thing you should do when beginning a new exercise or fitness routine is to check with your doctor. You want to make sure that your body is healthy enough to endure any physical activity without hurting itself or causing any damage. After getting the ok from your doctor, you will want to start slow on whatever program you decide to follow. Don’t jump in to it too quickly or force yourself to continue doing something you don’t enjoy. That’s a good way to get burned out and never follow through with it. Do some research to see what options there are out there and don’t’ be afraid to try different things. If you try something and it doesn’t do it for you, don’t give up! Just move on to something new. With so many options out there, it’s expected that you won’t find your preferred activity on the first try.
Don’t Give Up, Keep Going
I know how easy it is to just give up on your will to work out when you just don’t feel like doing it. It wouldn’t be called a “workout” if you didn’t have to put in some work but it is so worth it to not give up. One of my favorite workout quotes is “sticking with it is easier than starting over. Stay motivated and keep going.” This is especially important in the very beginning of your workout journey because this is when you are most susceptible to quitting. Keeping up the workout habit is important because it gets your body to build on muscle memory.
Muscle memory is crucial for physical wellness because it keeps you strong and healthy as you age. When working out, safety is always top priority so you want to take your time learning the basics of proper form. Proper form is developed with lots of practice so sticking with it is critical. Give your body the time it needs to build up strength and be patient with yourself while you develop stamina. Don’t expect change to happen overnight and get discouraged when you don’t see results right away. Burning fat, building muscle and flexibility all take time. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
It’s very important that you don’t forget to breathe while working out as well. Breathing is fundamental to our mental well-being. Take some deep, cleansing breaths before, during and after your workout to help you cleanse negativity and clear your mind. These deep breaths lead to enhanced well-being and mental clarity. On the breath in, feel your spirit lift and open and feel positive light enter your being.
When breathing out, feel yourself letting out the negativity and clearing a path for happiness. During your workout, breath in on the easier part of the activity, then breath out during the harder part to help you complete the move. After your workout, take some deep, calming breaths and feel the endorphins race through your body; notice how they raise your spirit.
Make It Personal
To make exercising more of a habit and something you look forward to instead of dreading, you should find something you love and enjoy. It doesn’t matter if it’s yoga, swimming, CrossFit, cycling, or even just walking your dog, you should enjoy doing it. Workouts don’t have to be dreadful, they can be a great time to let go and open your mind to new possibilities. Use that time to relieve any stress you are holding in your body and let it out on the activity. That being said, it is so important that you listen to your body.
If your body is feeling odd pains or you are feeling light-headed, stop and take a rest. Never, ever think that you have to keep going in order to prove yourself to anyone. Don’t compare yourself to others doing the same workout. Don’t think that you should be able to keep up with them when your body is telling you otherwise. Your workout journey is all your own. No one else can tell you what you should be doing or feeling, or how much more you should be able to do. Take it day by day and find your own pace.
You will notice a profound change in yourself once you have found the right fitness program for you. This change will not only be physical but mental as well. You will notice your mood has improved and you are better at handling the stresses of everyday life. Inner happiness comes from having a positive outlook on life and the right fitness routine will help you with that. For a lot of people, mental anguish comes from how they view themselves on the outside, so if you look better as an effect of working out, then it’s only natural that you will feel better as well. Don’t take my word for it though, go out and start your fitness journey and see how much better you feel!