The Relationship Between Fitness and Mental Health
Welcome back to my blog! This is officially my 10th blog. I can’t believe that we’ve reached double digits in blogs, but it’s been a great journey and experience writing these blogs about mental health and fitness. I’ve loved every second writing these blogs, and I cannot wait to write more blogs for the future!
This blog will encompass the relationship between fitness and mental health. As you may know, my blog is a mental health and fitness blog, but this blog will not exactly be a summary of all my previous blogs. Instead, it will be an in-depth analysis of the relationship between fitness and mental health.
Studies have shown that fitness and mental health have a tremendous connection. According to Helpguide, regular exercise can have a great impact on anxiety, depression, and stress. Furthermore, regular exercise boosts mood, improves overall memory, and enables you to sleep better. In addition, studies have proven that exercise is known to treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication, but without the side-effects of the medication, according to Helpguide.
To be more specific in the topic of depression, a recent study conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health discovered that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by up to 26 percent. Maintaining an exercise schedule can also prevent you from relapsing, in addition to relieving depression symptoms, according to Helpguide. Exercise fights depression well because it releases endorphins, which is the chemical that makes you feel good. In addition, exercise serves as a distraction from any of the negativity that you may experience from depression.
In high school, I never experienced any mental health issues. This was likely because I swam for a couple hours nearly every day for about 8 to 9 months of the year. And when I wasn’t swimming, I was lifting frequently as well. I did personally experience the notorious “swimmer’s high” while I swam intensive workouts, which significantly improved my mood. But once I stopped swimming as frequently in college as I did in high school, I experienced my first case of major depression towards the end of my first semester in college. The caveat is that I have bipolar disorder and I would have ultimately experienced depression and mania before being diagnosed, but perhaps if I had a rigorous exercise regimen, I would have experienced a less severe form of depression as I had, which resulted in a hospitalization.
During COVID-19, the mental health crisis reached dangerous highs. Perhaps the lack of or decrease in fitness played a role in the higher number of reported cases of mental illness during the spike in the COVID-19 pandemic; many people did not go to the gym or YMCA regularly because of precautionary measures. Personally, my mental health was not stable during the pandemic because I did not have as many endorphins released by my brain; this was because my exercise was not as intensive as it was prior to the pandemic. Thankfully, I am fully vaccinated and will return to the gym or YMCA very soon, and my fitness and mental health will definitely improve.
As aforementioned, there are great benefits to your mental health from fitness. Make it a habit to walk for at least 30 minutes at least 4 times a week. Aerobic exercise is essential to improving your mental health, but staying active in any form is beneficial too. Joining a YMCA or a local gym is a good first step to ensuring great mental health, but sticking to an exercise routine helps to prolong great mental health and prevent any relapses.
Thank you for reading my 10th blog! Fitness and mental health have an extremely strong relationship, as demonstrated by studies and personal testament. I hope you subscribe to my blog at the bottom of the home page, and please share my blog with friends and family!