Lift & Shift Foundation

New Year, New You

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Improve Your Mental Health With Exercise and Endorphins

The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Regular physical activity, such as exercise, has numerous benefits for mental health. One of the key mechanisms behind these benefits is the release of endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals produced by the body that act as natural painkillers and mood boosters. When we engage in physical activity our bodies release them into the bloodstream. And aerobic exercises, like running or cycling, can create more endorphins.

Person Hiking As A Stress Management Tool

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How to Improve Your Mental Health

The release of endorphins during exercise has several positive effects on mental health.

First, endorphins help to reduce stress and anxiety. They interact with receptors in the brain that regulate mood to create a sense of calm and relaxation.

Additionally, endorphins can improve mood and increase feelings of happiness. They have been shown to enhance the brain's reward system, leading to a sense of pleasure and well-being. This can help alleviate symptoms of depression and improve overall mental well-being.

Furthermore, the release of endorphins during exercise can contribute to better sleep quality. Regular activity can help regulate sleep patterns, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Improved sleep has a direct impact on mental health, as it allows the brain to rest and recharge.

Finally, the release of endorphins can boost self-esteem and confidence. Engaging in regular exercise and experiencing the positive effects of endorphins can improve body image and self-perception. This can lead to increased self-esteem and a more positive outlook on oneself.

Types of Exercises for Stress Management

But how do you get started with exercise in the new year? There are many different types of exercises that can be beneficial for stress management, including:

  • Aerobic exercises: These are activities that get your heart rate up and increase blood flow to the brain. Examples include running, cycling, and swimming.
  • Strength training: Lifting weights or using resistance bands can help build muscle and improve overall physical health. And there's no shame in starting with your body weight!
  • Yoga: This ancient practice combines physical postures, controlled breathing, and meditation to improve flexibility, strength, and relaxation.
  • Tai chi: This gentle Chinese martial art involves slow, fluid movements & deep breathing, which can help reduce stress & improve balance & coordination.
  • Dancing: Whether you prefer salsa, swing, or hip hop, dancing can be a fun way to get your body moving & your heart rate up.
  • Hiking: Head out into nature & take a leisurely walk through the great outdoors. This low-impact activity can help improve cardiovascular health & reduce stress.

Making Exercise Part of Your Stress Management

Exercise can help you feel better. It can lower your stress and anxiety, make you happier, help you sleep well, and boost your confidence. You can do any exercise you like, as long as it fits your schedule and you enjoy it. Start with small steps! Then you can make your workouts harder and longer as you get better.

Support the Lift & Shift Foundation & Project Biotech

You can also support a good cause while you exercise. The Lift & Shift Foundation is a charity that helps people with mental health issues. One of our sponsors is Project Biotech. They're a small business that sells orthotics & nutritional supplements, and they can help you reach your health goals. If you buy from Project Biotech, you will help fund our programs. This way, you can exercise, support a small business, and help a charity at the same time. You can lower your stress and improve your mental health by doing these things.

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