Mental Health And Fitness: Why Exercise Helps Depression

The world is indeed evolving, as well as everything in it. We see these specific changes in different places including culture, technologies, livelihood, transportation, and even people. We’ve taken a long leap from where we have been before. However, while it’s true that these improvements are making us feel better, it also appears that the diseases we had past are also included in the said evolution.

Science has discovered the cure for many illnesses and has helped us understand the incurable ones better and provide treatment. Some conditions can be avoided with self-care and a healthy lifestyle and some we just need to learn the tools to cope with the condition and understand our symptoms.

It can be hard to reach out and seek help but with certain mental health conditions, there is help you can seek out and it’s never too late. Let’s look at the topic of mental health and fitness. Our brain is our most powerful organ and we must look after our mind along with our bodies. This is how you become holistically healthy.

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The Real Story Behind Mental Health

Today, the number of people who are suffering from a mental illness or disorder is continuously growing. As a fact, a ratio of one out of four (approximately 450 million) individuals is suffering from it around the world. While many people struggle through their day to day routine not realizing their mental state is unhealthy, they must understand that mental health deserves as much priority as physical health. It can severely affect your quality of life and general happiness.

For more of the numbers, we understand that one in five youths (ages 13-18) suffer from a severe mental illness, while in regards to adults, the ratio is one out of twenty-five. These figures are concerning and require attention Does this result mean that youth mental health is weaker compared to adults? How much do most young people know about mental health anyway?

The Facts About Mental Health

When we say mental health, it concerns not only our thinking but also our mood and behavior. The experts also believe that there are a considerable number of factors that can contribute to the overall risk of mental issues such as trauma and genetics. The former involves biological factors concerning brain chemistry (genes) like when there are imbalanced which can lead to some problems.

The other risk refers to traumatic experiences that we may continue to re-live or develop phobias and ongoing sadness after. The latter on the other end includes the history of our families having a mental illness in the past. Studies suggest that genetics plays a massive factor in developing similar illnesses to those in our family tree.

Some mental illnesses are extremely common such as anxiety. There are many different methods of treatment available such as CBT, talk therapy and medication. A lot of these conditions respond well to treatment. Sometimes seeking treatment is daunting and scary. It requires some effort and bravery to seek out help when you’re already feeling bad. Again, it’s important to stress that this is all about your overall health as well as your mental health.

Mental Health Conditions

As mentioned earlier, mental disorders affect the way we think, feel, and act when faced with certain situations in this life. Sometimes this can be an ongoing problem and sometimes certain situations provide triggers. For a clearer image, most of the time, we tend to act on what we think and feel. On the other hand, sometimes we just work based on our feelings and only think it over later.

The World Health Organization (WHO) say anxiety disorders (18.1%) are the most common one among mental health problems. This condition is characterized by extreme (to unreasonable) fear or worry. Hence, in most studies, the figures appear like this, social phobia on the top list (6.8%), followed by post-traumatic stress disorder (3.5%), then generalized anxiety disorder (3.1%), panic disorder (2.7%), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (1%).

Next to the anxiety disorders are the mood disorders (9.5%). The specific mental conditions under this list are major depressive disorder or depression (6.7%), bipolar disorder (2.5%), and dysthymic disorder (1.5%). Other mental conditions include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and schizophrenia (1.1%). The former is common among children that can progress even when they are adults if not addressed. The latter though is a more severe condition that can severely affect functioning and quality of life.

Moreover, mental illness can trigger a chain reaction in our body. For example, we have an anxiety disorder that eventually leads to depression due to continuous stress. We should know that such a condition is also associated with people who have chronic illnesses like coronary heart disease and even cancer. This is why it’s extremely important to view this as an overall health issue rather than a separate problem or “less serious”.

The Importance of Mental Health

We are rich if we are healthy because health is wealth. We cannot stress this enough. Our body should be viewed from an holistic point of view rather than separating health conditions into different categories of importance. We need to be mindful of every aspect of our health for a good quality of life and longevity.

Our mental health involves our emotional and psychological well-being. Positive mental health helps us deal with difficult situations and also affects how we relate to others. We need to take charge of our mental health like we do our physical health and help those that are younger.

Mental Health: How to Keep Fit Mentally
Taking care of our mental health involves a pro-active approach. We need to take small steps in taking care of our minds. There are many things we can do to stay mentally active and mentally healthy. Sometimes a positive mindset takes some work and effort. Here, we provide a list of tips to help you stay mentally fit or begin a new chapter in positive mental health:

Read Often
The subject matter is up to you. Maybe it’s a subject you already have an avid interest in and want to learn more or maybe it’s something entirely new to challenge you mentally. It doesn’t really matter. Reading is a wonderful past time that helps stimulate our brain and helps us take our mind off negative things. Reading can enrich your life.

Challenge Ourselves
We should occasionally challenge our memory and cognitive ability. Learning a new language, sudoku, solving puzzles, crosswords and chess are great ways to do this. There could also be social benefits to playing board games which is an extra bonus.

Relax
Stress is a killer. It’s been repeated again and again. Learn to say “no”. Take time for yourself. Try your best to achieve that work/life balance. Take a bath, spend time at home, turn off your phone. Self-care is important regarding severe stress. Your body and mind will thank you for it. After all, relaxation can help the levels of our stress hormone cortisol to return to normal.

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Eat Right
A healthy diet is great for our bodies and brains. A nutritious diet is so important in so many ways. Most people first think of their waistlines when it comes to dieting but do you ever think of your mental well-being? We can start with wholegrain cereals, dairy products, and leafy greens. Besides, it’d be better if we can also add vitamin B not just for our eyesight, but for our overall brain health.

Strive to learn something new
Every time we learn something new, the “grey matter” of the brain processes it and creates other neural pathways. Such an event will be beneficial because it means that the segment of the brain has something to do. It remains functional. We can try a new hobby for this one.

Other practices to keep our mental health fit include stimulating conversations, working on different woodworks or crafts, and even a friendly debate or discussion to others. The list is long for these activities that can keep up with our needs to maintain the fitness of our mental aspect. Now that we covered the mental exercise let’s move forward to the physical workouts that we can do.

Different Exercises for Mental Health
Physical exercise can also help with our mental health and fitness. Studies show that a regular workout can help people who have depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other conditions. Notably, exercise not only entertains, but it also relieves our stress, supports good sleep, improves our memory, boosts our mood, and even helps us to achieve weight loss.

For people who are suffering from a depressive disorder or depression, it shows that they can try a wide variety of options like aerobic and non-aerobic exercise. The former usually involves jogging and briskly walking, while for the latter, it includes stretching, relaxation, and training for coordination, strength, or flexibility. This practice should be done three times weekly with sixty minutes per session for eight consecutive weeks.

If we feel that aerobic and non-aerobic ones are not enough, we can always switch to running or weightlifting. We can try a program with a duration of four times over eight weeks for a one, seven, or even twelve months. We can also get a personal trainer if we see fit. Meanwhile, if we feel like dancing, we can do that through a dancing class. There isn’t a wrong answer. These ideas can also help us expand our social circle.

A lot of these activities are fun as well as being beneficial to our well-being. There are so many options and we haven’t much to lose in that regard. We would like to stress that some mental health conditions require more than a dance class or a good book to overcome. Sometimes medication is a more effective and life-saving solution for some people. These tips only exist to help you change your lifestyle, perhaps along with therapy and medication. Remember that you matter and your mental health matters and the help exists for you to thrive and enjoy what life has to offer.

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