Why Physical Fitness Can Improve Mental Wellness

Mental well-being is a huge part of overall wellness. In a government post on mental health, experts brought up how being mentally healthy can increase your coping skills during difficult moments and improves your confidence. Mental wellness also allows you to successfully move past negative life events. All of these result in your ability to form healthy relationships and create positive interactions. While these benefits may be great, you first need to improve your mental wellness. One way to do it is through physical fitness and if you’re curious as to how to keep reading below.

It helps you focus

Exercising helps you “get in the zone”, or a period of time where you’re performing at your best. This momentarily gives you focus and keeps you calm, which is useful when you’re scatterbrained or distressed.

One particular physical activity to consider is running. A health blogger once wrote in an article about yoga for sprinters that running isn’t about speed alone. It’s more about understanding your body movements while running, controlling them, and using that to train your body. Running is a mental activity as much as it is a physical one. For instance, you need to remind yourself to keep your core engaged to prevent any aches and pains after running. The amount of concentration put into this encourages your mind to train on one thing at a time, keeping you focused and calm.

It reduces anxiety

There are many reasons for you to get anxious: work, relationships, and climate change included. While anxiety is perfectly normal, it can develop into an anxiety disorder if left unaddressed.

Fortunately, exercise can reduce anxiety. A kinesiology professor shared in a post on the mind-body connection that physical activity reduces anxiety immediately after it. Also, consistent exercise lessens anxiety even more and for a longer period of time. This is because exercise soothes the amygdala—the part of the brain responsible for emotions—represses fear. What’s great is that you won’t need intense workouts to reap these benefits. Even something as simple as cycling while admiring your surroundings is a good enough workout.

It keeps you resilient

Exercising always brings a new experience. There will be days when you won’t expect to run a few extra laps or beat your push-up record. This is especially true for open-water swimming.

One magazine writer informs that one of the benefits of open-water swimming is its power to make you resilient. Open-water swimming takes place in the outdoors (lakes, rivers, oceans), the very thing that makes it unpredictable. The water can be clear one day and murky the next, there may be more water resistance on certain days, or the temperature may be dropping or rising without warning. All these possibilities promote mental wellness by exposing you to different situations and encouraging you to think of how to confront them.

It enhances self-efficacy

Everyone lacks self-confidence from time to time. However, consistently doubting yourself can hold you back from opportunities like accepting a promotion or learning a new skill. It’s a good thing that physical activity, especially in the form of pickleball, can aid in this.

A clinical psychologist discusses that the mental benefits of pickleball include a mental health boost. Pickleball is a social game: it’s a paddle sport where two or four players hit a ball over a net. Playing against someone or being in a team enhances your self-efficacy. You’re being an active agent by successfully passing the ball and helping yourself or your team, win. While this may seem very mundane, it boosts your confidence.

Mental wellness is part of your overall health. Engage in physical activity today to increase focus, boost self-esteem, become resilient, and lessen anxiety. However, before starting your journey to wellness, remember to visualize your goals (mental wellness) and take it one step at a time (be patient with yourself). After all, you want to improve your well-being rather than disrupt it.

Specially written for urbanathletecalgary.com by Jasmine Brooks