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8 exercises to boost your mental health significantly.

8 Different Types of Exercise Proven to Immediately Boost Your Mental Health

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It’s no shocker — physical exercise has long been known to have numerous health benefits that go well beyond chiseled abs or a toned physique. And although many of us pay for fancy gym memberships or personal trainers, we often underestimate the power simple exercise, like walking, has on improving our mental health and emotional well-being. Engaging in regular exercise has been clinically shown to boost mood, reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, and enhance self-esteem.

In this article, our experienced mental health counselors at Dr. Messina & Associates uncover exercise’s multifaceted benefits on your overall well-being. Far beyond just sculpting the perfect physique; it’s a powerful tool for enhancing your mental health. We also take a deep dive into the different types of exercise and how they can help you specifically.

Understanding the Science Behind the Serotonin Surge

Ever wondered why a brisk walk leaves you feeling invigorated and content? Let’s explore the science behind it. Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, your body’s natural mood lifters, promoting a sense of joy and well-being. It also helps reduce the levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, in our body, leading to a sense of calm and relaxation.

But don’t just take our word for it. A study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that walking for an hour or running for 15 minutes a day reduces the risk of major depression by 26%.

Whether you are dealing with a specific mental health condition like anxiety or depression, or simply looking to improve your overall well-being, exercise can play a vital role in your journey to better mental health.

Tailoring Exercise to Your Mental Health Needs

Starting an exercise routine doesn’t mean a one-size-fits-all approach. At Dr. Messina & Associates, we champion diversity, knowing that one type of exercise might not fit your lifestyle or needs. Let’s explore an array of activities that not only contribute to physical fitness but also uplift your mental well-being.

Curious What Types of Exercise Foster Mental Well-Being?

Did your New Year’s resolutions involve walking your dog more or finally picking up that pickleball set your friend gifted you? Whatever exercise piques your interest might have hidden mental health benefits you haven’t thought about. Dive in to explore what suits your needs and find your next favorite exercise. Keep reading to discover the possibilities!

Aerobic Exercise for Stress Reduction

  • Activity: Running, cycling, swimming, or dancing.
  • Benefits: Boosts endorphins, reduces stress hormones and promotes a sense of calmness. Ideal for those seeking an energetic outlet to manage stress and anxiety.

Yoga for Mind-Body Harmony

  • Activity: Hatha or Vinyasa yoga
  • Benefits: Combines physical postures, breath control, and meditation to enhance mental clarity, reduce anxiety, and improve overall well-being. Perfect for individuals looking for a holistic approach to mental health.

Strength Training for Confidence Building

  • Activity: Weightlifting or bodyweight exercises.
  • Benefits: Builds physical strength and boosts self-esteem. Strength training has been linked to improved body image and increased feelings of empowerment, making it an excellent choice for those aiming to enhance confidence.

Mindful Walking for Stress Relief

  • Activity: Walking in nature with focused attention.
  • Benefits: Combines physical activity with mindfulness, reducing stress and promoting mental clarity. An ideal option for individuals who prefer a low-impact exercise that connects them with the environment.

Pilates for Body-Mind Awareness

  • Activity: Pilates exercises focusing on core strength.
  • Benefits: Enhances body awareness and mindfulness while improving physical strength. Particularly beneficial for individuals seeking a balanced approach to mental and physical well-being.

Tai Chi for Relaxation and Balance

  • Activity: Slow, controlled movements with deep breathing.
  • Benefits: Known for its meditative quality, Tai Chi promotes relaxation, reduces anxiety, and improves balance. Suitable for those looking to incorporate a mindful and gentle practice into their routine.

Team Sports for Social Connections

  • Activity: Pickleball, soccer, basketball, or any team sport.
  • Benefits: Combines physical exercise with social interaction, fostering a sense of belonging and reducing feelings of isolation. Excellent for those seeking the added benefit of a supportive community.

Empowerment through Self-Defense

  • Activity: Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or self-defense classes.
  • Benefits: Beyond physical fitness, self-defense training instills a sense of empowerment and confidence. Learning practical skills for personal safety can contribute to reduced anxiety and increased self-assurance. Ideal for those seeking not only physical strength but also a heightened sense of security.

Final Thoughts on Exercise From Your South Lake Therapist

In our office, we often discuss what we did over the weekend in our beautiful surroundings of South Lake and Flower Mound, Texas. What stands out is how all of us find joy in some form of physical activity—be it a nature hike with our kids, a bike ride on nearby trails, a pickup game of pickleball, or the zen of a regular yoga class. While we all enjoy various levels of physical activity, it’s important to note that physical activity doesn’t have to be intense to be effective. The real key is discovering an exercise that you genuinely enjoy and seamlessly fits into your daily routine.

Making exercise a regular part of your life isn’t just about strengthening your body; it’s a boost for your mind too. So, what’s holding you back? Dive in, get moving, and let the mental health benefits of physical activity enrich your everyday experiences!

Feeling Stuck Emotionally or Mentally? We’re Always Here to Help You.

No matter what you are feeling or where you currently are in your mental health journey, the compassionate team of therapists, counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists at Dr. Messina and Associates specialize in treating mental health challenges and are qualified to help you at our Flower Mound, Texas, and Southlake, Texas, offices. We specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychological testing, and medication management for a variety of emotional and behavioral health needs. All services are available in person and online (telehealth).

If you or a loved one needs mental health care and are seeking therapy, counseling, psychological evaluation services, or medication treatment, we are here to help.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our Flower Mound or Southlake counseling locations.


Picture of Dr. Michael Messina

Dr. Michael Messina

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