Movement and Mental Health

I hope you're enjoying the beautiful weather we've got at the moment!

Sitting in the sun is a great way to help your mental health - the boost to serotonin levels can make you feel so good!  

Another way to help your mental health is with exercise

I know for myself and for many of my classmates, mental wellbeing is one of the top reasons for exercising - alongside physical health.  That is why I was so pleased to see it as a theme for Mental Health Awareness week - which finishes today

Exercise has been shown to be more effective than anti-depressants, so I think it should definitely be part of the toolkit for overall wellbeing.  There's a variety of ways that it can help:

  • reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • improves mood and increases feelings of happiness
  • reduces stress
  • enhances cognitive functions like memory, concentration, and problem-solving skills. It also promotes neuroplasticity, which is the brain's ability to adapt and form new neural connections.
  • boosts self-esteem, confidence and body image
  • improves sleep quality - helping you to fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep
  • provides social interaction and reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • acts as a coping mechanism, helping to manage negative emotions and stress
  • increases energy levels - helping to  combat fatigue and improve your ability to handle daily tasks and challenges.
  • supports brain health - promotes the growth of new brain cells (neurogenesis) and improves brain function. It can also protect against cognitive decline as you age.
  • enhances emotional resilience - helping you recover from stressful situations more quickly

All sorts of movement helps - doesn't have to be specifically exercise.  But here are some of the ways different classes can be particularly effective for different mental health benefits:

WalkFit and Aerobics

  • reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • improves mood and a general sense of well-being.
  • requires a level of coordination and rhythm, which can improve cognitive function
  • increases energy levels and focus

Total Body Tone and Kettlebells

  • helps improve body image and self-esteem by enhancing muscle tone and strength.
  • requires focus, which can distract from negative thoughts
  • great as a coping mechanism

Pilates and Hypopressives

  • movement plus slow breathing/breath holds helps reduce stress and anxiety
  • promotes relaxation
  • can help improve sleep quality 

HIIT and Low Impact Circuit

  • short bursts of intense exercise followed by rest or low-intensity exercise can boost overall energy levels and combat fatigue
  • the challenge also builds your resilience

And there's added benefits in all my classes:

  • all my classes are live via Zoom, it means there is still the opportunity for social interaction
  • the use of music can also significantly reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • giving yourself the gift of time out for yourself enhances your wellbeing

Being in nature is another great way to help with mental health - and at this time of year I have a number of classmates who join me from their gardens!  

If you'd like to try out my membership for free and see how it can help your health and wellbeing, you can sign up here:

Sarah Parker Fitness membership



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