It’s no secret that our society is always searching for happiness. As humans, we constantly wonder what we can add to our lives to make them more enjoyable and less stressful.
We frequently hear about how adding exercise to our daily routine is great for our health but is there a connection between our physical health and mental well-being?
The short answer is, yes, there is. Almost everyone suffers from the feeling of being stuck “in a rut” at some point. It’s a 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. Cases like this are where a good physical fitness routine can help get you out of the rut.
Physical exercise is a great way to get your mental well-being back on track, but people don’t talk about it as much. Instead, articles focus primarily on how good it is for your body and fitting into your skinny jeans.
In my opinion, its mental benefits should be something we talk about more. Research has shown that exercising affects the brain’s release and uptake of endorphins. 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 starting your physical path to mental well-being.
You Have To Crawl Before You Can Walk
The first thing you should do when beginning a new exercise or fitness routine is 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’ll want to start slow on whatever program you decide to follow. Please don’t jump into it too quickly or force yourself to continue doing something you don’t enjoy. That’s a surefire way to get burned out and not continue.
Do some research to see what options there are, and don’t’ be afraid to try different things. Don’t give up if you try something and it doesn’t do it for you! Just move on to something new. With so many options, it’s normal not to find your preferred activity on the first try.
Don’t Give Up, Keep Going
I know how hard it is to exercise when you don’t feel like doing it. We wouldn’t call it a “workout” if it wasn’t work, but don’t give up. One of my favorite workout quotes is, “sticking with it is easier than starting over. Stay motivated and keep going.”
This rule of thumb is fundamental at the beginning of your workout journey because this is when you’re most susceptible to quitting. Keeping up the workout habit 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 a top priority, so take your time learning proper form. Developing proper form comes with lots of practice so sticking with it is critical.
Give your body time to build up strength and be patient with yourself while developing stamina. Don’t expect changes overnight, and don’t get discouraged when you don’t see results right away. Burning fat and building muscle all take time. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Another essential part of working out is not forgetting to breathe. Breathing is fundamental to our mental well-being. Take some deep, cleansing breaths before, during, and after your routine to help cleanse negativity and clear your mind.
These deep breaths lead to enhanced mental clarity. Feel your spirit lift and open and feel positive light enter your being on the breath in.
When breathing out, feel yourself letting out the negativity and clearing a path for happiness. During your workout, breathe in on the easier part and breathe out during the more challenging part to help you complete the move.
After your workout, take some deep, calming breaths and feel the endorphins race through your body, noticing how they raise your spirit.
Make It Personal
To make exercising more of a habit and something you look forward to instead of dreading, do something you enjoy. It can be yoga, swimming, CrossFit, cycling, or even just walking your dog; you should enjoy doing it.
Workouts don’t have to be dreadful and 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. With that said, it is so crucial that you listen to your body.
If you’re feeling odd pains or light-headed, stop and take a rest. Never think you have to keep going to prove yourself to anyone. Don’t compare yourself to others doing the same workout. Don’t force yourself to keep up with them when your body is telling you otherwise.
Your workout journey is 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’ll notice a profound change in yourself once you’ve found the right fitness program.
This change will not only be physical but mental as well. You will see your mood has improved, and you’re better at handling the stresses of everyday life. Inner happiness comes from having a positive outlook on life, and the proper fitness routine will help you with that.
For many 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. Please don’t take my word for it, though. Go out and start your fitness journey and see how much better you feel!