Fitness + Mental Health: Tackling the Tough Times with Self-Care and Exercise
Do we even have to say it? The state of mental health in our country today is NOT the best. Between unemployment and sickness, COVID-19 restrictions, the current political climate–and the steadily rising number of deaths due to the pandemic—it’s enough to make anyone feel depressed. That being said, it’s now more important than ever to make yourself stay active. Regular exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, improves cognitive function and can help fight against feelings of social withdrawal. Even a short, brisk daily 10 minute walk can help increase energy, mental alertness and mood. (Remember a year ago when we all went into lockdown and the “quarantine walk” became a daily activity for over half the country? There was something to that!)
For the majority of us that are processing a very complicated time in which to be alive, it’s essential to make sure you are taking time for yourself. Is everything in the news getting to you? Grab your sneakers and head to the Loop at Wrightsville Beach and clear those anxious thoughts out of your head! (Studies even show that by walking tall with your head held high and shoulders back, you’re more likely to experience a good mood.) Feeling too overwhelmed to have a strict, regimented fitness routine at the moment? Don’t stress; just pick something active that brings you joy and give yourself a break.
Still feeling blah? Go ahead and grab some dark chocolate. Ha! You may rarely hear a personal trainer tell you to reach for the chocolate but hear us out. Dark chocolate (with 70-85% cocoa) actually contains fiber, iron, magnesium, and copper and is a powerful source of antioxidants. It contains tryptophan which helps your body produce serotonin, which is an instant mood-booster.