Want to automatically look and feel better than the majority of the population? Exercise and clean eating might be your answer, as those who exercise consistently experience a boost in mood and reduced feelings of depression.
In fact, Jenny Edwards, CEO of the Mental Health Foundation, recently confirmed exercise plays a big part in improving our mental health. Now, there’s even more evidence to support this.
- Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression
- Provides a self-esteem boost
- Better sleep
- Increases energy
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves muscle tone and reduces body fat
- Strengthens bones
In fact, adequate research shows that strength training and racket sports promote the most optimal mental health boost in as little as 30 minutes a day. Let’s assimilate why.
30 Minutes of Strength Training
Do we know that weight training strengthens bones and muscles but are there proven mood-boosting benefits to weight lifting? Science says yes!
How does strength training boost mental health? Functional or traditional strength training produces a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) chemical. Produced in the hippocampus, this incredible chemical obtains mood-boosting properties and assists in self-regulating mood, attitude, and focus.
Fitness, particularly strength training, releases the happy chemical known as “dopamine” to make you feel good. In addition, exercise releases endorphins by vitalizing the brain’s pituitary gland.
Endorphins help us cope with pain and stress, while dopamine is a mood-boosting neurotransmitter released after a goal is reached (like a great workout)!
Facelift by Busting a Move– Strength training improves the delivery of nutrients to the skin’s cells, creating optimum conditions for collagen production. Endorphins released within a 30-minute workout minimize the production of stress hormones and soothe the adrenal glands- resulting in that glowing skin we all desire.
30 Minutes of Tennis
According to the Forbes list of healthiest sports, squash takes the number one spot. Since squash is a racket sport and we are tennis fanatics, our main focus for a healthy mental health boost will be tennis-focused.
How does playing tennis strengthen our memory and mental health? Primary, tennis is a coordinated physical activity that boosts activity in the cerebellum (where 50% of our neurons are stored). What is fascinating is that the cerebellum supports the coordination of eye-hand movements, resulting in stronger reaction time and focus. Incredible!
Here are some good reasons why tennis particularly is good for your mental health:
- Stress is reduced due to high endorphin production
- Healthier heart and lungs – Playing tennis prolongs exercise-related oxygen.
- Maintain agility, fitness, and strength.
So why not give it a try? Pick up a racket today and head to your nearest court or park!
Avoid poor dynamic posture – A poor dynamic posture can result in serious repercussions that will deter movement and cause pain: Resulting in an adverse effect on your mental health. Luckily, tennis and strength training are both low-impact injury sports if appropriately executed.
To achieve optimal results, it is essential to do your due diligence or train with a professional coach.
Any exercise can make you impervious to depression and activate those healthy neurons. Some examples of moderate exercises include:
- Gardening, yard work, and housework
- Low-impact aerobics and yoga
As all physical activity requires energy to perform at your best, sufficient reserves of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are essential.
The Brain-Gut Connection
Did you know science refers to our gut as our second brain? Hidden in the walls of the digestive system, this “brain in your gut” revolutionized medicine’s understanding and connections between digestion, mood, health, and the brain’s way of thinking. Feeding your body and brain with phytonutrients filled foods is prevalent.
Tip: Incorporate these mood-moderating foods:
- Fresh fruits, particularly berries and avocados. Delve into their antioxidants!
- Fatty fish rich in omega-3s. Tip: If you want to skip the harmful toxins in seafood, get your omega 3’s from chia seeds, flax seeds, seaweed, and more.
- Nuts and beans are magnesium-rich food and promote relaxation and calm.
- Leafy greens like Kale (packed with mood-controlling magnesium) and spinach (filled with
Feasting on phytonutrients filled foods gives your “second brain” a positive mental health boost.
If you are still feeling down and not your best, it might be effective to talk to a therapist. If you don’t have the time or the will to leave the house, look for a therapist that uses mental health scheduling software and provides virtual sessions. You can typically see the virtual services listed as a bookable option on the systems that offer 24/7 online booking.
The Ball Is in Your Court
To amplify memory circuits and neurotransmitters, establish a 30-minute daily exercise routine that’s rigorous and enjoyable. If you want to prevent clinical depression, exercise might be the most prevalent “treatment.” Aim for at least 30 minutes of strength training and/or racket sports a day as a general goal.
What we eat affects our mental health; Avoid a diet high in processed foods and adapt to a diet filled with nutrients and phytonutrients.
Cheers to your mental health and a healthier lifestyle.
About the Author
Taraneh Nasseri is a content creator and product marketer for Yocale Network Corp. When she is not delving into the creativity of research and writing, she enjoys playing tennis and working out.