Exercises that will improve your mental health
“Have you tried exercising? I’ve heard yoga is like really good for stress and stuff...”
Ah, the dreaded unsolicited advice on how exercise is going to cure all woes. If you suffer from mental health difficulties you will have heard it all before and most probably rolled your eyes at it numerous times. They do have a point though.
It's easy to fall into bad habits at university of staying solitary, inside and eating badly but it does not have to be this way. I learnt throughout my university journey that regular exercise and staying active every day improved my wellbeing tenfold.
Staying active is extremely important to our mental health. It increases our energy levels, which can, in turn, increase our mood and outlook on life. If we make our activity regular it can bring down stress and anxiety levels and greatly improve quality of life.
Activity does not have to mean an intense workout at the gym or joining a sports team. Exercise can take many different forms and it is about finding one that works for you, your abilities and most importantly your needs.
Money and time can be tight when you are a student but here are my suggestions for how you can get your recommended thirty minutes of heart raising activity a day:
- Walking may be obvious but it's the easiest way to get out and exercise. Choosing to walk to university rather than getting the bus will give you some important time outside. This can keep us motivated and feel more in control of our body and mind.
- Cycling is great if you are at a university in a larger city or a greener area. Why not look at one of the bike hire systems such as Santander Cycles? For as little as two pounds you can hire a bike and take to the open road for a few hours, leaving your stresses behind.
Have you looked on YouTube?
If you are unsure of how to use something at the gym, there are an abundance of tutorials to follow as well as workout guides. If you are more of a work out at home person then there are pages of results for ‘home workouts’ for every fitness level and end goal.
Yoga with Adrienne is a channel filled with yoga workouts you can do in your accommodation. Despite what you may think, yoga is great for relaxing and unwinding and is perfect after a day filled with back-to-back lectures.
Your university will be able to offer you various options for staying active. From traditional sports team to more relaxed options where you can just play the sport for fun with other students. Check your Student Union’s Website to see what is on offer and get involved. The social aspects of these sports will do great things for your wellbeing too!
I know how daunting the thought of exercise can be and how hard it is to find the motivation amongst deadlines and a brain that’s struggling. Starting is most definitely the hardest part and once you’re over that hurdle you will be on your way to hopefully feel stronger, both mentally and physically.