6 Exercises to Improve Your Mental Health

by Leo Cartland
fit couple doing bar pull ups

The National Health Services officially recommends exercise as a form of therapy and for a very good reason. If you’re a fitness doer and proponent, you’re probably already aware how working out not only improves physical health, but also your mental well-being. Researchers at University College London found that augmenting activity levels from basically nothing to exercising thrice per week decreased the risk of depression by roughly 20 percent.

In fact, it was revealed in a 2017 study conducted in Australia that even an hour of physical activity each week can make a great deal of difference in your mental health. The study determined that 12 percent of depression cases could have been avoided if subjects engaged themselves in weekly one-hour physical activities.

Moreover, general practitioners nationwide recommend working out as a treatment for depression. It’s also been prescribed for people who suffer from mild to moderate depression to engage in three physical sessions that can range from 45 minutes to an hour in length for over a period of 10-14 weeks. This is in order to obtain physical activity’s mood-boosting effects.

Here are 6 exercises that can boost your mood and have been proven to help those with depression:

1. Walking

man running in fieldThe simplest form of exercise there is, walking, as basic as it is, can bring a huge difference not only in your physical self but also in your mental well-being. It is also the best possible way to begin since it moves your body in a way that’s easy, pleasant, and natural. When you’re not sure of how to begin, you can start with the simplest form of exercising.

Research has determined that low-intensity activity is the greatest form of workout for promoting positive thoughts and emotions, as well as augmenting mental focus and lucidity. Since walking is a low-impact exercise, it’s also ideal for people who suffer from physical afflictions or those who are likely to experience panic attacks.

2. Yoga

group yoga meditating classIf you’re looking for another low-impact activity to complement walking, yoga is the perfect candidate. Yoga involves gentle movements that are very relaxing. It helps people to connect with themselves and gets them to concentrate through proper breathing. This connection with your breath and body can be powerful in the long run, which makes yoga very effective and soothing at the same time. If you’re just starting, you may want to go for the less intense style at first.

3. Swimming

This water activity is another low-impact type of exercise that can help people who need some spirit lifting. Incorporating as little as ten minutes of swimming into your routine can do wonders for your mental health. Of course, this also depends on how you like doing it. If you despise going into the water, don’t do it. Aside from performing physical activities, it is also important that you enjoy doing them.


High-intensity exercise is well known for boosting stress levels as more cortisol and adrenaline are produced. You can expect this in the beginning, but as you become more active your body starts to acclimatize as well. When you adapting physically and mentally, you’re training your body and mind to become resilient over time, which is important in terms of developing stress coping techniques in your everyday life.

5. Dancing

Dancing is frequently linked to positive feelings such as happiness. Nonetheless, even if you’re not feeling great about things, getting yourself to dance to join the rhythm of the music constitutes to your confidence slowly rising as you lose yourself in the movements of your body.

6. Resting

It’s not a form of workout, but rest is vital if you want to establish a sense of balance in your entire routine. Incorporating rest into your fitness regimen is essential for both physical and mental health. When you’re consumed in the eagerness to engage in physical activities, you tend to impair your mental health instead of care for it.

While exercise is a form of therapy, some people become addicted to it. When this happens, it loses the very essence of it. Just like with everything else in this world, working out is also about being done in moderation. Remember, too much of anything can be destructive. You don’t need to feel pressure just because your colleague works out five times a week.

As a matter of fact, doing 10 minutes of exercise every day is a good start. You can always change that as long as your schedule permits you. When speaking of balance, that should be two or three times per week, as long as you’re living an active lifestyle even you’re not in the gym.

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