We all know that exercise is good for our body in terms of strength and endurance but did you know that the mental benefits are just as important? Exercise (and especially exercise in isolation) for some can be a form of meditation, a de-stressing mechanism, or a way to simply step away from the demands of day-to-day tasks. In order to develop, the body requires a mix of stress and rest. Both stress and rest are very important factors for mental and physical growth.
Stress and Rest
Exercise is a form of stress; it works the body to fatigue and then requires rest to rebuild the muscles, bones, and ligaments. Too much exercise with little rest overloads the body and is the cause of injury or mental burnout. Too much rest causes the body to lose it’s strength from lack of use. An optimal amount of stress and rest creates long term positive changes to the body. This results in resilience to adversity, physical fitness, and improved cognitive function. The strong correlation between exercise and improvements in mental health is an important one.
Exercise and Mental Health
In these challenging times of temporary isolation your exercise routine may be have been disrupted and it can feel chaotic! Yes, it is easy to become a little lazy when things are thrown out of the norm, but the importance of exercise for mental health means it is essential to incorporate in your daily routine… even in small doses. Your exercise routine may transition from a group fitness setting to now consisting of a small circuit in your home. It is important to be open to change and try new exercises and formats to spice up your workout regime to maintain motivation.
If it’s all become too much to deal with and you’re becoming stressed by this change in routine, take the opportunity to take this new challenge head on. Spend some time each day focussing on your mental health. There are a wide variety of apps and methods you can use to stay calm and manage your stress. Spending as little as 10 minutes a day doing focussed slow breathing can make a huge impact in the long run for your mental health.
Below are some listed links to Pivotal Motion Resources that may spark some ideas of exercise to incorporate into your routine.