How Does Exercise Improve Mental Health?

December 31, 2020

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If you are going through menopause, you are navigating a tricky time in your life; dealing with hormone imbalances which affect your mood and this may lead you to weight gain. Mentally, the lack of hormones can cause symptoms of depression and low self-esteem. Hormone supplements can be used to help normalise the imbalance, but many women choose not to do this for personal and medical reasons. Luckily, there are some easy, natural ways to help manage menopause. Exercise is one of the ways that has been shown to relieve the side effects of menopause. Exercise is the easiest way to improve your health, not just physically, but mentally as well. It releases a host of hormones and chemicals that have a dramatic effect on your mood and wellbeing. Not only are mood-boosting chemicals released, but you will start seeing yourself become more fit, further boosting your confidence. 

Exercise during menopause

Many women that go through menopause report they feel better about themselves and have a more positive outlook after getting some exercise. Using this time to get in some social time with a friend while walking doubles the benefit, especially if they are also in a similar situation to you. 

One of the best ways to get these benefits is to get active for 30 minutes a day, or more. This will meet the recommended activity levels. While 30 minutes can be hard to fit in some days, it is completely understandable. Even a 5 or 10-minute walk around the block can be enough to see the benefits. Just getting outside has been shown to reduce stress and improve your mood. Try finding a local park with green space to get out in for a walk or mindfulness meditation.

Try meditation

Speaking of meditation, this is a great way to shut out negative thoughts and really focus on yourself and what makes you happy. Being introspective can help you find ways to help yourself manage daily stresses. There are lots of free resources on the internet to guide you through a mindfulness meditation session. There are plenty of gurus on YouTube that will show you how to perform deep breathing and different poses to also get some strength work in. It may not be super active, but it does help with your mental health, which is a huge component of getting through menopause easier. 

HIIT exercises

For those who want to get active in a more intense way, there are kickboxing and HIIT workouts. These are great for really working off some stress and anger you might be feeling. Not only will the exercise release hormones that make you happy, but the workouts are so intense that you won’t be able to think about anything else besides getting through the workout. 

Whether it’s a yoga session, a walk around the park, or an intense weight workout, once you get into a routine of getting active, you will start to see the results. Not only will your mental space be clearer, but you will also see changes in the mirror that reflect positively back on you. Even starting with small amounts of time of 10 minutes or less of deliberate walking or running can be enough to get that chemical boost into your brain. With practice, you might be able to manage the symptoms of menopause without artificial hormone treatment. As always, if you are looking for how to best manage your menopause personally, consult a licensed professional for what might work best for you and your lifestyle.

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