Mental Health and Exercise – How To Maintain A Healthy Mindset

Megan Howard 8. November 2021


No matter what your age, your mental health is as important as your physical well-being. A healthy body and a healthy mind are something that everyone should strive for.

Professional tennis player Naomi Osaka has recently shone the spotlight on the importance of mental health in sport, and we’re going to do the same.

Understanding the Link Between Exercise and Mental Health

Exercise isn’t simply about the size and strength of your muscles or your aerobic capacity. It certainly has powerful effects on your physical health and strength. But it can also have profound impacts on your mental health and overall wellbeing.

People who exercise often usually do so because it provides them with an excellent sense of wellbeing. Active people sleep better at night and enjoy more energy throughout the day. They also have sharper short- and long-term memories and feel more positive and relaxed about their lives in general. Moreover, exercise is a potent remedy for many common mental health challenges. Including depression and anxiety.

According to HelpGuide, regular exercise can have a significant positive impact on anxiety, depression, and even ADHD. Research also indicates that even modest amounts of exercise can make a tangible difference to your mental state. Regardless of your age or level of fitness.

5 Tips For Your Mental Health: 

Try these simple tips to boost your mental health:

1. Plan Rest Breaks

Everything is good for you in moderation. To keep your mental health in check, it’s important to rest and relax in between exercising. Don’t overstrain yourself or push yourself too hard. You need to maintain a balance, and part of that is getting enough rest. Plan your exercise regime with at least one rest day a week, depending on your goals, age, and fitness levels. In general, it’s also important to take breaks throughout a workday. Taking micro-breaks where you consciously disconnect and do nothing for a few minutes helps you to relax and refocus. 


2. Use Relaxation Techniques

Teaching yourself to relax is something that you can learn. You can do mindfulness exercises, meditate or do yoga or Tai Chi. The American Psychological Association recommends yoga as a valuable tool for dealing with depression, anxiety and sleep disorders, among many other conditions. Practicing yoga encourages relaxation and the release of stress and may lessen anxiety. Tai Chi combines physical exercise with a form of meditation to provide an overall sense of mental and physical wellness.

3. Learn To Enjoy

It’s not just your body that needs exercising, but your brain, too. Keeping your brain fit is an important part of maintaining a healthy mindset in an enjoyable way. You can teach yourself to enjoy life more and feel happier if your body and brain get a workout.

Whether you play card games or video games, these mental exercises give your brain a welcome boost in an enjoyable way.

4. Pay Active Attention To Sports And Nutrition

Getting the right nutrition and exercising regularly is essential to maintaining your mental health. Food is a major mood booster. If you’re exercising regularly, you need to give your body the right nutritional fuel to recover and feel good. Aerobic exercises that boost your heart rate are important too. Regardless of whether you walk, run, cycle, cross-country ski, or do strength training, you’ll encourage the release of endorphins, improving your mood and general sense of well-being.

5. Get Enough Sleep

The links between sleep and good mental health are closely connected. A lack of sleep not only affects your athletic performance, it also affects your mental and psychological health too. While everyone’s needs differ somewhat, it’s recommended that you get between 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Prioritizing a healthy sleep schedule will help you maintain a positive mindset and to feel less anxious, stressed, or depressed.

Making Mental Health A Priority

As we’ve seen with Naomi Osaka, even professional athletes competing at the highest standards can battle mental health issues. Sometimes, taking a step back or focusing on other activities is a necessity.

Incorporating aerobic exercises that promote well-being is a great way of maintaining a healthy mindset while staying fit. The key to success is to choose the types of exercise you enjoy and can integrate with your training regime. In many cases, exercises that boost mental health are ideal for cross-training purposes too.

Even the simplest of exercises, such as walking or jumping on a trampoline, oxygenate your brain and get those endorphins flowing. This goes a long way towards alleviating some symptoms of modern mental health challenges.