COVID-19 pandemic is causing widespread fear and anxiety throughout the U.S. If there was a way to dispel all anxious feelings, I’d tell you, but there isn’t. But, from my research, a little physical exercise can help alleviate that. Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem.
Whether it’s solo or team activities, these mental benefits can go side by side with the physical benefits that come with them. That means you’ll have better mental stability while achieving a better-looking and functioning body.
What Did the Researchers Uncover?
Recent studies by sport sociology researchers from both Australia and Germany found that sports can aid in protecting people from serious mental health issues. The study looked into anxiety and depression levels of recreational athletes using different conditions. These subjects have similar amounts of exercise intensity.
Additional factors gauged by researchers include both indoor and outdoor settings, as well as a team and individual sports. The researchers found that the athletes adhering to the exercise guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO) had better mental stability. This guideline recommends around 150 minutes of average physical activity each week if you’re an adult between 18 and 64.
Medications have limitations, despite their important part in improving mental health. Take note, there’s also a worsening crisis in abusing prescription drugs and opiates. That’s why it’s better for patients to find alternative ways of boosting their lifestyle quality.
What are the Effects of Exercises on Mental Health?
Experts say that different exercise forms can impact mental health in various ways. That’s why it’s important to understand the factors influencing depression and anxiety. But it’s unfortunate that there aren’t a lot of studies done to assess the optimal amounts of physical activity needed to promote positive mental health.
Studies found that people who didn’t live up to the expected amount of exercise tend to report higher depression scores. It didn’t matter whether they exercised indoors or with a team. The amount of exercise played a bigger role.
Regardless, group exercises are more beneficial compared to individual activities. In most cases, being in a group helps keep exercises engaging and energizing. But exercising on your own is also good since it tends to be stress-reducing and contemplative.
Another interesting fact found in the study is that indoor team athletes had better mental health scores. That means they’re likely to have the lowest scores for both anxiety and depression. As for outdoor exercises, it’s rewarding and energizing as long as the environment is safe and has a lot of green space.
Avoid Overdoing the Exercises
Studies found that people that often do intense physical exercises suffer from depression more. Moderation is the most important factor. Remember, doing exercises more won’t always equate to better mental health.
Some people will often have this obsessive tendency. That means they think they’ll always need to do more. But in the long run, this will add more stress to both their bodies and their emotions.
It’s comparable to eating healthy food. Oranges are wonderful fruits since they have a lot of vitamins while making you energized. But no dietician will recommend you to eat 20 oranges per day since that can lead to a lot of health problems.
With that, moderation and balance are something to always keep in mind. If you can’t meet 150 minutes each week, always remember that doing them is better than nothing. After all, a 30-minute daily exercise has the same effect on your mood as taking a standard Prozac dose, without any of the side effects.
What are the Effects of Not Exercising?
When a recreational athlete cuts off exercise, negative effects abound. It’s unavoidable since even the most athletic people can undergo unexpected life changes. That means they could end up without the time or energy to exercise.
Regardless, a sudden cut of physical exertion can increase both anxiety and depression. This is a challenge that’s often difficult to overcome since it hurts your mental health. At this rate, rehabilitation and therapy can become a reliable means of restoring your drive and improve yourself.
Exercise Isn’t a Catch-All
Some mental disorders aren’t affected by the amount of exercise you make. It can certainly help confidence and anxiety issues, but not schizophrenia. Otherwise, a 150-minute weekly exercise regimen can help prevent your mental health from worsening.
If you can’t achieve 150 minutes, sometimes 10 minutes a day is enough to lower your stress levels.
Also, check out these 35 Best Mobile Apps for Mental Health