How Exercise Can Greatly Boost Your Mental Health

It may seem like a paradox when you don’t feel very good mentally and you think about doing any type of exercise. It feels like you don’t have what it takes sometimes. It is understandable that feeling upset and unstable in your mind can make exercise seem scary, hard, exhausting, or dangerous.

However, it is quite important to push through those experiences and force yourself to get some light to moderate exercise when things seem really bad. This article will explain a little bit about this.

Why you should exercise to relieve mental health issues:

1. Exercise can sometimes treat depression and anxiety – Studies show that mild and moderate depression and anxiety can be treated just as effectively with exercise as antidepressants and anxiety medications, without the side effects. A Harvard study said that a fifteen minute run every day or a one hour walk every day reduces risk of depression and anxiety by almost 30 percent. Keeping a consistent exercise schedule can prevent anxiety and depression from coming back, too. So, find something you like.

2. Fights depression and anxiety – Exercise promotes positive changes and growth in your brain, including growth of neural pathways, reducing inflammation, and creating feelings of calmness and wellness. Endorphins released during exercise will make you feel good and give you some energy.

3. Temporary distraction – You shouldn’t always run away from your problems or avoid thinking about them. However, it is super important that your brain and body gets a break from the stress. Exercise takes you out of the cycle of worry and brings you into a more enjoyable experience. Choose an exercise you find enjoyable and worthwhile. You may find something that completely changes your life and becomes your favorite thing.

4. Exercise relaxes your body and muscles – This can help with anxiety because when your body is tense, your mind may also be tense. While you are doing physical activity, your body decompresses a bit and starts to relax. It releases tension in your body and focuses on what work you are trying to do while being active. It is more helpful for your brain to focus on physical activity than worrying about your daily life problems. If only for a moment.

5. Relieves many other ailments – It can help with constipation, ADHD, PTSD, trauma, better memory, self-esteem, improve your sleeping, give you more energy, and help you with every day physical demands such as vacuuming or deep cleaning. Any of these issues can contribute to poor mental health if they aren’t taken care of. Exercise can help with them all. Try an exercise that uses most of your body, such as dancing, hula hooping, or swimming.

Of course, before trying anything, make sure it is okay with your doctor to do physical activity first. Do not stop, start, or change medications unless your doctor advises you to.

Hopefully by now you are convinced that no matter how hard it seems, if your doctor says OK, you have to start doing some physical activity.

How To Use Breathing Exercises To Reduce Stress

Stress is a big cause of some major health issues, and can trigger many more.

The body doesn’t respond well to stress naturally. It is either fight or flight as a response, and it isn’t usually necessary to fight or run away.

Most of our stress comes from things we can’t fight or run away from anyway. So, how can we help our bodies respond correctly to stress?

One big help is breathing exercises. The reason they are so helpful is that proper breathing is meant to directly address the fight or flight response and bring your brain and body back to normal. The opposite of the “fight or flight” stress response is to “rest and digest”. The breathing exercises will bring your body back to a resting state.

Before you try these methods, be sure you are in a comfortable and peaceful environment. Either lay down or sit comfortably. Try to reduce any distractions around you first.

Some breathing exercises to try when you are stressed include:

1. 4-7-8 Method – Breathe in deeply for 4 full seconds as to fill your lungs with air. Then hold it in for 7 seconds. Then, breathe out for 8 seconds. Then, repeat. This is one of the most popular exercises.

2. 7-11 Method – Breathe in slowly but deeply for 7 seconds. Then, breathe out slowly for 11 seconds. Stay mindful of how much air to take in for the 7 seconds and how much air to exhale for the 11 seconds. Try to keep the breathing even without stopping or holding it in.

3. Nose Then Mouth Method – Breathe in deeply through your nose so that your lungs fill with air. Then, breathe out of your mouth with your lips puckered, as if making a W sound with your mouth. It should work so that you make a slight ‘woosh’ sound as you exhale. Relax your jaw as well. Then, begin breathing in through your nose and repeat until calm. Do not do this too quickly or too many times in a row or you may hyper-ventilate and get dizzy.

If you have never tried breathing exercises, you may be surprised to find that they do work. As long as you do it properly and mindfully, you should find some relaxation in these techniques.

How Gut Health Affects Your Overall Health

When it comes to your heath, you have probably heard or read hundreds of suggestions.

What you may not have considered is just how important it is to keep your digestive system healthy.

When you really think about it, most of the important nutrients and energy your body takes in will go through your gut. If your gut isn’t healthy, those nutrients aren’t going to go where they need to. There is quite a bit to learn about digestive health, so let’s just discuss the basics.

Stomach or intestinal disturbances or discomfort is not a good sign. If you experience nausea, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, bloating, gas, or pain in your stomach, upper gut, or lower gut, you may have an issue. Talk with your doctor about what you are experiencing and how often.

Some other symptoms of an unhealthy digestive system include:

1. Excess sugar intake – If you are craving sugar often, this could indicate an issue with the levels of yeast in your digestive system. Yeast lives on sugar, and may trick your body into making you eat more so it can continue to thrive. Although normal levels of yeast are expected, sometimes it can overgrow. Ask your doctor if you feel sugar controls your diet.

2. Changes in weight – Another symptom of a bad gut is an unexpected change in your weight. Especially if you are eating enough and can’t gain weight, or if you lose weight suddenly. Keep track of your body size and weigh yourself to see if something unusual is happening.

3. Frequent exhaustion or sleep problems – If you are constantly tired, you may be missing out on some important nutrients that your body isn’t processing correctly due to a sick digestive tract. Some examples include B12, Iron, Magnesium or Potassium. Your body needs a certain level of these to feel good. Low levels of some of these can cause restless legs and disturb your sleeping. Ask your doctor if you need to test your body’s general levels of vitamins and minerals.

4. Skin issues – Is your skin breaking out in ways it never did before? Are you getting rashes, bumps, cysts, pimples, or other problems? These can all be symptoms of a bad digestive system. Talk with your doctor to find the cause of these.

5. Sensitivity to some or most foods – Do you have a pattern of getting sick after you eat certain things? Or are you feeling sick most of the time regardless of what you eat? Either way, that could mean a problem. You could have an allergy or intolerance to gluten. You may be lactose intolerant. After all, some people develop Celiac Disease or lactose intolerance during their life and may be surprised when they start arising.

There are a few other signs of bad gut health, One of which includes mental health disturbances such as anxiety, depression, or mood swings. Do your research and ask your doctor to find out more about gut health.

This article is not intended to alarm you. However, if something in this article sounds like an issue you are having, call your doctor right away. They may be able to find the issue and get you back to a normal, healthy gut!

Why Hula Hooping For Exercise Is Popular And Healthy

Have you noticed anyone using hula hoops for their choice of hobby and exercise? You may not have thought much about it, and we’re here to tell you why it is worth considering.

The number of people using hula hoops continues to grow every day.

Whether they’re using them for simple hula hooping on their torso, or using them for extravagant dance performances, it’s a healthy thing to do. We have included just some of the reasons why below.

1. Rewarding – If you have the right guidance and have the right hoop, hula hooping can be extremely rewarding. It can be physically, mentally, and emotionally beneficial to you. A large percentage of hula hoopers do it for the natural highs they get. The term for this phenomenon is the “flow state”. Hoops are known for helping people reach it.

2. Interesting and Versatile – Anyone who tries this activity can do something different with it. The choices range from simple on-body hula hooping to doing hand stands while the hula hoop spins on their foot. A very popular form is to use the hoops to dance, as a tool of self-expression. As an extra benefit, no dancing is required to do this, either. It all depends on the user.

3. Suited For Everyone – As long as each person gets a hoop that is recommended for them and they are given some basic instructions, hoops can be for anyone. As a basic tip, adults should try using a thicker, heavier hoop. They are approximately 38-42 inches in diameter and are sometimes called a “beginner hoop”. If adults attempt to hula hoop using a kids hoop they got at Walmart, they are most likely going to fail.

4. Low Impact – This benefit is in comparison to common exercises such as walking, hiking, running, or jump-rope. Hula hooping requires little to no jumping, squatting, or running (unless you wish to). Most basic hooping just requires you to stand in one general area. This will reduce the impact on your knees, hips and bones. Some things can be done from a seated position and in a relaxing manner.

Where To Begin:

Try a few different Google searches to see what resources are available to you. Begin with terms such as “Where to buy  a beginner hula hoop”. Search YouTube for “How to hula hoop”.

After that, you should be well on your way to learning all you need to know. Good luck on your new hobby!

Why Group Exercise Classes Are Effective And Fun

If you have never tried joining a group exercise class, you may be missing out.

While it may not be for everyone, it is still wise to consider giving it a good try. Even if you are introverted and pretty shy, you may form a close bond with a few of your class mates.

There are quite a few reasons why exercising with other people can be beneficial and exciting. We have listed them below.

1. Making Friends – As mentioned in the introduction, you may actually become close friends with the people you meet at your exercise class. Not only are they there for similar reasons as you, but they are likely to have the same interests as you. After all, you did choose the same class, right?

2. Everyone Is Accountable – If you continue going to a group class with your friends, each of you can hold the other accountable for attending. Your friends can motivate you or convince you to go on days you just want to be lazy. You could all celebrate when you have attended a certain number of classes in a row.

3. Extra Help – Your new exercise friends can help you catch up if you joined the class a bit late. They can show you what you’ve missed and get you in the groove of the class. Whether it be a spin class or dance class, they will support you.

4. In This Together – When the class gets hard and you struggle to get through, your friends are there with you. Sometimes that’s all you need to know to help you achieve your goals. You can make silly faces at each other to get through, or take a break together so don’t feel alone when you can’t continue.

Even if you don’t make deep relationships with the people in your class, they can still help and inspire you. Maybe get some ideas by watching those in the class that do really well. Life is a learning experience, and it is wise to gain as much knowledge as you can from everyone you meet.