Exercise with its numerous benefits is also linked to mental health. Whether it is physical exercise, such as yoga, HIIT, and swimming, or mental exercise such as reading, solving puzzles, and playing Sudoku, there is enough evidence that a healthy mind is one that lives in an active body. What according to experts are some of the best exercises to improve mental well-being?
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Here’s a list of some the top science-backed exercises that do wonders both for physical and mental health:
- Running or Walking
If you have heard of the phrase ‘the runner’s high’ then you know what we are talking about. The clarity and exuberance that one feels after a sprint or jogging session, is unlike any other.
“Outdoor exercise and running in nature is particularly beneficial and an instant mood elevator,” suggested by one of the Best Neurologist in Kolkata. Of course, you should be in good physical form and have an all-clear from a physician, if you are new to running or jogging.
Many people fighting symptoms of depression, anxiety, etc have found running, or even walking, to be most beneficial, as it improves mindfulness and allows one to break the pattern of negative thoughts.
Tip: For some extra motivation, invite your friends virtually to compete with you in walking challenges using a tracker.
Yoga is an obvious contender when it comes to exercising for mental health. Yoga’s gentle movements are not only soothing, but they also help you get in touch with yourself and focus on your breath and body. Perhaps yoga’s superpower is the way it uses breathing. Taking slow, deep breaths is a great way to cut through the toxic loops of our cluttered mind that are hard to get out of.
Besides, a growing number of studies suggest that yoga’s holistic mind-body approach might be a beneficial treatment for mental health issues like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, insomnia etc.
One of the top reasons why doctors practice and recommend yoga is that the intricate poses and breathing exercises calm both your mind and body.
Tip: If you are new to yoga, then start with some free online yoga sessions. You can pick up the less strenuous and more restorative styles such as Hatha to begin with and progress onto the more intense styles of Ashtanga or vinyasa.
- Board Games and Puzzles
People who play games such as cards and board games such as chess, Ludo etc. or solve puzzles and crosswords tend to stay mentally more agile and happy. Doctors particularly emphasize the importance of playing non-digital games to improve thinking, cognitive abilities and slow the decline of brain function later in life.
Playing such games regularly or solving crossword puzzles, sudoku etc., stimulates those areas of the brain that support complex thought and memory formation. As a result, it helps in practicing essential cognitive skills such as problem solving and decision making. Board games can also reduce the risk of developing dementia in the elderly and keep the mind sharp.
The other reason why playing games is important is because it helps strengthen relationships and social well-being.
Tips: You don’t necessarily have to pick a board game. Any mentally stimulating activity that you enjoyed in your childhood whether it is playing bridge, solitaire or even reading great books can keep you mentally stimulated.
Dancing is instantly associated with being happy. However, even if you are not on cloud 9, getting into the groove to some foot-thumping music can help you practice joyfulness.
It also turns out that dancing has a wider appeal for older adults because some of their most precious memories and positive life experiences involved some sort of dancing, whether it is at birthdays, weddings festivals or special performances. Dancing is an instant mood enhancer, improves posture and flexibility and helps build aerobic power.
Tip: It’s easy to pick up dancing in lockdown. You don’t need special gear or skills. can follow your heart, your favorite style and a sense of rhythm. Whether it is Bollywood or Zumba, do what you love.
- Learn a New Skill
One of the best ways to expand your cognitive abilities is to learn a new skill. Always wanted to learn French or play the piano? Want to learn baking and impress your friends? Learning a new skill is not only fun and interesting but it helps build the connections in your brain. Doctors at AMRI Hospitals explain “Learning a new skill helps improve the memory function and keeps the brain active in older adults. It is also recommended for seniors because you are never too old to learn something new.”
Exercising is not only important for your body, it helps improve memory, focus and daily functionality especially as we start ageing. People from all age groups can gain from including Signs of Narcissistic
into their daily life.