Exercise for Your Mental Health

As it gets colder, the days get shorter, and the holidays arrive, it’s natural to feel a little tinge of sadness. Want to know how you can improve your mental health this winter?

By moving your body!

Exercise and increasing our muscle mass isn’t just about keeping our bodies in tip-top shape. It’s about helping our minds be the best they can be.

A new study from the University of Australia found that exercise and physical activity are highly effective in reducing mental health symptoms.

That study found that higher-intensity physical activity was the most effective and that people could see a change within as little as 12 weeks.

Strength Training Aids Anxiety

While all physical movement helps with your mental health, strength training can be particularly effective in decreasing anxiety, reducing depression, and even offsetting cognitive decline.

You don’t have to run out to the gym and lift heavy weights, either. Simple resistance exercises have been shown to aid against cognitive decline for up to 18 months after. That means, the more you train today, the longer you’re helping yourself throughout your Third Age.

If you choose to lift weights, that can help you build mental resilience as you work through a tougher workout.

How Much Exercise Do You Need?

Wondering just how much you need to move each day to see these benefits?

The answer is – not a ton! The CDC recommends that adults 65 and older get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise. That means just walking or doing some easy yoga 30 minutes a day, 5 days per week.

If you choose a more intense workout like hiking, running, or other cardio, you can decrease that to just 75 minutes a week.

One thing you’ll want to be mindful of is that they recommend you do some kind of strength training twice a week. It doesn’t have to mean you need to go buy that gym membership either. You can do some beneficial strength training activities in your own home!

Getting Started with Exercise

If it’s been a while since you’ve worked out, there are some ways you can ease into it and make it a part of your routine:

  • Choose an activity that you enjoy and that fits into your lifestyle.
  • Start with short workouts and gradually increase the duration and intensity.
  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
  • Break up your workouts into shorter sessions throughout the day if that’s easier for you.
  • Find an exercise buddy to help you stay motivated.

Take Small Steps to Improve Your Mental Health

Adding just a little bit of exercise into your daily routine can make a big difference in your mental health.

I love yoga and cycling but you can find an activity that you love to get you moving.

Don’t let winter get you down. Let’s start moving!