Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

In recognition of next month being Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to share some mental health benefits of exercise and also share some tips on how to start and stay motivated to exercise!

Mental Health Benefits of Working Out: 

  • Increase Self Esteem and Self Confidence
  • Stronger Mental Resilience
  • Sharper Memory and Thinking
  • Better Sleep at Night
  • Increased Positive Outlook on Life
  • Decreased Stress

Tips to Start and Stay Motivated to Workout: 

1) Start Small– Any activity is better than no activity! The thought of starting a fitness routine can be intimidating and challenging, so getting over the first hurdle of simply starting by working out for even 5 minutes can be a huge first step and victory!

2) Just Move– Don’t worry about selecting the perfect workout when starting. Instead do something you have done in the past and know you can successfully complete. As you gain confidence try something new or maybe even a group exercise class to challenge yourself!

3) Make it Fun– You need to find activities that you enjoy or you won’t be able to sustain your workouts long term. If there’s no physical activity you like, you aren’t alone. Try listening to one of your favorite podcasts or Netflix shows to distract yourself and pass the time 😊

4) Schedule Your Workouts– Find the time of day that you have the most energy and workout during this time each day. Not everyone enjoys waking up at 5am so find what time works best for you and stick to it!

5) Make it Social- Not only will having a friend/loved one workout with you hold you more accountable it will also provide you quality time together and build your relationship.

6) Reward Yourself- You put in the work so reward yourself! Try healthy rewards such as getting a smoothie on your way home or scheduling a massage for yourself after completing every 10 workouts.

7) Sign up for a Race- Signing up for walks, runs, marathons, etc. are a great way to motivate yourself and create a sense of urgency to start and continue training!

If you happen to live in West Michigan and are looking for an opportunity to support a great cause you should consider signing up for the Hope Network One in Five Marathon Relay. Runners compete on a team of five and run a full marathon with the first 4 runners competing a 5 mile loop and the last person representing one in five people who have a mental illness taking on a more challenging 6.2 mile route. Below is a link with more information along with a picture of my team from last years race!

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