Mental Health Exercise: How to exercise right for improved mental health |

Mental Health Exercise: How to exercise right for improved mental health |

With long hours at work, endless screen time, busy schedules, and work-from-home culture, physical activity often takes a backseat. In today’s modern world our lifestyle is becoming increasingly sedentary. This impacts our mental health adversely leading to stress depression and anxiety. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is important to maintain both physical and mental health.

How to exercise right for improved mental health

Our bodies are designed for movement, and when we neglect this essential aspect of our biology, it can lead to numerous adverse effects on our mental health. Here’s how a sedentary lifestyle can harm our well-being

  • Increased Stress and Anxiety: Sedentary lifestyles often contribute to higher stress levels. Physical activity helps reduce the production of stress hormones and triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters.
  • Depression and Mood Disorders: Studies have shown a strong link between physical inactivity and depression. Regular exercise prevents against stress and milder forms of depression.
  • Cognitive Decline: Lack of physical activity can lead to cognitive decline and memory problems, affecting our ability to concentrate and make decisions.
  • Sleep Issues: A sedentary lifestyle can disrupt our sleep patterns, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Quality sleep is crucial for mental health.

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Incorporating physical activity into a busy work schedule

Now that we understand the potential consequences of a sedentary lifestyle on mental health, let’s explore some practical strategies to incorporate physical activity into our daily routines, even amidst our busy work schedules:

  • Start Small: Any physical activity is better than no physical activity. Begin with short, achievable goals. Even a 10-minute walk during your lunch break or a quick home workout can make a difference.
  • Schedule It: Treat physical activity as a non-negotiable appointment. Put it on your calendar just like you would a work meeting, and stick to it.

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  • Take Breaks: When working at home make it a habit to get up from the chair at least once in 30 min and stand or walk a few steps. When taking a call use a hands-free device and take the call while walking.
  • When working from the office also use the above strategy. Use the stairs to your workplace. If you use the bus to commute, consider getting off a stop early and walking the rest of the way.
  • Find an Activity You Enjoy: Whether it’s dancing, hiking, swimming, or yoga, choose activities that you genuinely enjoy. You’re more likely to stick with them if they bring you pleasure. Take up a sport
  • Accountability Partner: Partner up with a colleague or friend who shares your fitness goals. You can motivate each other to stay active.

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By taking proactive steps to incorporate physical activity into our busy work schedules, we can improve our mental well-being, and enjoy a happier, more balanced life. Remember, it’s not about finding time for exercise; it’s about making time for your mental health.
Author: Dr Rishikesh Behere, Consultant psychiatrist, Ruby Hall Clinic, Hinjewadi