The Best Exercise for Mental Health

A healthy body and mind are closely linked, with one’s well-being often depending on the other. Exercise, while known to boost physical health, can also be an effective tool in boosting mental health through various avenues, including helping to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression as well as increasing overall wellbeing and self-esteem. These exercises have been proven to have the greatest effect on your mental health, so include them in your workout routine today!



Although there’s been a movement towards mindfulness in recent years, exercising to increase your mental health and mood is still pretty counter-cultural. You might feel silly running (or working out) by yourself with headphones in while everyone else is talking or catching up on their phone calls, but it can be a great way to improve your mood. For an extra boost of motivation, try listening to podcasts or audiobooks that teach you new skills.



Often referred to as a full-body exercise, swimming is one of the best exercises for improving mental health. You will benefit from reduced stress and feelings of general wellness after taking a swim. It’s also an excellent workout in general and can be performed year-round (thanks to indoor pools). As with most workouts, longer is better—try to go at least 20 minutes each time you swim.



According to some research, cycling is one of the best exercises you can do to improve your mood and overall sense of well-being. The main reason why cycling helps improve mental health is due to its positive effects on brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, and enkephalins. In addition to improving your mood, cycling also reduces stress and anxiety, increases self-esteem, and provides a higher quality of life. There are many benefits associated with taking up cycling as an activity.



The art of meditation and relaxation, yoga can help you focus on clearing your mind of stressful thoughts. Plus, studies have shown that it can actually increase brain matter, which is good news for any overworked business owner or writer who may not be spending as much time with their family as they’d like to. Check out some online classes or purchase a DVD and watch it daily during your me-time. You may even want to join a yoga studio and participate in group sessions!


Martial Arts

Learning martial art can be an incredible way to improve your mental health and overall well-being. You may believe that martial arts are just another workout regimen or stress reliever, but they are much more than that. Martial arts can provide you with tremendous benefits physically, mentally, and emotionally. They will provide you with focus and self-discipline, which will translate into every area of your life.



While aerobic exercise is great for physical health, it also has a positive impact on mental health. Because aerobic activity increases blood flow to your brain and releases endorphins (happy hormones) in your body, it makes you feel happier and more relaxed when done regularly. Regular aerobic activity can even help with mild depression or anxiety. A meta-analysis of 22 studies found that aerobic activity had significant antidepressant effects as well as positive impacts on anger, hostility, and anxiety.



There’s something magical about doing flips and handstands. When you do these moves, it feels like your mental health is on display and capable of flipping upside down. Gymnastics gives you a fun way to work out your physical well-being while working out your mental health at the same time! Gymnastics is a great source of strength training that comes with an enormous blast of positive energy! They will improve your confidence in ways nothing else can.


Sports Teams

If you’re looking to get out of your head, or if you want a sense of community and connection with others, playing on a sports team is a great way to accomplish that. Plus, we all know exercise can increase endorphins (happy hormones) and decrease stress. Most towns have youth baseball leagues, tennis clubs, and basketball leagues that play games most nights during warmer months; in cold-weather climates, join a hockey league or indoor soccer group.


Team Sports

Playing team sports can be a great way to get active and make friends, plus it will improve your mental health. The feeling of being part of a team is a powerful force that can not only improve self-esteem but also boost moods and lower anxiety levels. Team games like soccer or basketball are great at building friendships because you are working together towards a common goal. They’re also simple to get involved in; just pop down to your local club and ask if they need any players!


Dance Classes

Getting started with a regular dance routine can help you improve your overall mental health, boost your social skills, and even keep you healthy (dancing is a great form of exercise!). If you’re interested in getting involved in a dance class near you, contact local studios and see what options are available. Once you get to your first session, be sure to sign up for more than one class so that you don’t burn out quickly.

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