Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

Using Physical Health to Improve Mental Health

Recent studies have shown that physical health impacts mental health immensely and vice versa. When your body is healthy, you reduce your risk of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. On the flip side, those disorders can cause health issues such as heart disease and GI issues. So the question is, how do you use your physical health to improve your mental health? 

Regular Exercise

The first way you can use your physical health to improve mental health is through regular exercise. When you work out, your body releases endorphins that can reduce pain, improve stress levels, and give you a positive outlook on life. These endorphins are the cause of common phenomena such as the “runners high.” This light and airy feeling lasts for hours after you’re done exercising, allowing you to enjoy a high standard of productivity as you go about your day. Similar to endorphins, your body will release endocannabinoids as you work out, which will make your troubles seem to melt away. 

Another benefit of regular exercise is physical stress relief. When you turn your focus away from stressors and toward your fitness goals, you get a mental break from anxiety. Additionally, strenuous activities such as weightlifting, boxing, and running allow you to direct your stress at an object outside of yourself rather than internalizing everything. This incorporation of holistic women’s health into your routine can help maintain your physical, emotional, and social wellness throughout your lifetime. By exercising regularly, you can take control of your mental health. 

Community Sports

A second way you can use your physical health to benefit your mental health is through community sports and activities. While regular exercise in a gym improves your strength and physical wellness, getting involved in community activities helps you socially while you stay fit. Many communities have sports programs available to people of all ages, from teenagers to seniors. When you sign up for one of these programs, you get a list of the equipment you need, whether it’s volleyball knee pads or pickleball paddles. Once you have your gear, you can get outside, have fun, and make some new friends. 

Along with sports, getting involved in your community is a great way to improve both your physical and mental health. Activities like soup kitchens, community outreach, and park clean-up are vital to every locale. While it may not seem like these projects are good for your physical health, you’d be surprised. Almost every form of community service will use your body’s strength and endurance, all while bettering the lives of people who are down on their luck. When you abandon your problems to help someone else with theirs, you get a burst of stress relief and peace in your life. While these activities don’t cure mental health conditions, they can help you manage them. 

Outside Activity

Finally, simply getting outside can improve both your physical and mental health. When you spend most of your time indoors, you miss out on the healing benefits of sunshine and nature exposure. If you don’t want to just sit on your porch and soak up some rays, look for something like a local farmers’ market. At these markets, you can enjoy some sunshine while supporting small businesses from your community. Additionally, much of the food and produce sold at these markets is organic and natural, which allows you to feel good about what you put in your body. 

Another idea for time well-spent outside is a good old-fashioned walk. If you live in a more rural area, pack a small backpack with some snacks and water and go for a short hike. When you hike, you gain an appreciation for the natural beauty around you while reaping the previously-stated benefits of endorphins. If you don’t have the landscape for a hike, grab your family and head out for an evening walk. A simple walk around the block can help you de-stress. By getting outside, you can support your physical and mental health. 

Overall, the correlation between physical and mental health is too strong to ignore. With these tips, you can support both health aspects for a more wholesome lifestyle.