Running and walking (or any other sport) to maintain our mental health and not just to lose weight

Run and walk Undoubtedly two of the most demanding physical activities. Two of the Spanish favourites. However, whether it was running, walking or practice other types of exercises (the one you like the most, the one you feel most comfortable with) is very important for maintaining our physical health, including slim downbut also to protect mental health.

“It has been scientifically proven that prolonged physical activitylike running or walking regularly, will result in improved mood, creativity, learning, memory, and in terms of reducing cognitive impairment,” he told José García Donate, psychologist and director of the Sport Psychology Unit Centa Institute.

But not only that, he also added that lower levels of anxiety and depression were found in athletes than non-athletes. In fact, and according to the conclusion of several studies, “a program” physical training, as a complement to psychological treatment anxiety or depressioncan be very beneficial, obtaining better results compared to interventions that do not use physical activity as a complement”, explained the expert.

One of the most relevant works in recent years is the one published in 2019 in prestigious scientific journals’Lancet‘ which concluded that people who stay active, who exercise regularly, tend to be happier.

This work, carried out with a sample of more than 1.2 million people and carried out by scientists from the University of Oxford (UK) and Yale University (USA), shows that all types of physical exercise are associated with “lower burden on mental health” (i.e., mental health was relieved) and the “burden” was reduced even in those who played the “popular team sport”.

What has become clear, however, is that exercise must be done regularly, that is, constantly. There’s no point in exercising today and not doing it again until next week. As they show recommendation from the World Health Organization, we should do 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week, it’s better if they spread out for a few days.

“More specific studies show how exercising about 45 minutes a day, 3 or 5 days a week on a regular basis will bring about the aforementioned benefits,” Donate said. We cannot forget, as the guide points out, from strength trainingas or more important -according to experts- than aerobic exercise for keeping all of us muscle mass.

As well WHO shows the importance of practicing physical exercise in our mental health: “reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety” and “improves reasoning, learning and judgment skills”.

Why is exercise so important for mental health?

As for why physical exercise is so beneficial for mental health, several theories can be explained. As Donate explains, on the one hand we find a purely biological reason: “Physical activity causes, at a biological level, a balance between neurotransmitters that are responsible, among other things, for the management of emotions and the production of pleasure. This balance prevents mood swings.”

Physical activity causes, at a biological level, a balance between the main neurotransmitters responsible, among other things, for the management of emotions and the production of pleasure.

On the other hand, there is “a theory in relation to self-efficacy that comments on how the practice of regular physical activity implies improvement for people who do it, improving their state of mind and confidence in themselves and in themselves”.

Eventually there will be a “social interaction theory that focuses on the relationships created as a result of exercise, in addition to mutual support between individualswhich is also responsible for the tremendous benefits of exercise for mental health.”

However, “it is difficult to distinguish whether the impact of exercise on physical health is greater or less than on mental health, as benefits are still being found in both fields today. What is clear with what is known today, physical activity can be considered as ‘super medicine‘ in many ways,” says the psychologist

5 tips to start exercising regularly

This is perhaps the most complicated part, because we must not forget that “36.4% of people aged 15 and over stated that they are sedentary in their spare time”, according to European Health Survey in Spain 2020, from the National Statistics Institute. And as we said, the key is regularity.

To do this, psychologist Donate offers us 5 key or important suggestions for trying to achieve healthy habits as recommended as physical exercise.

The first thing is “clear about the goal why you want to start exercising: improve your health, look better aesthetically, meet new people, etc. That motivation This will play a fundamental role when getting the person off the couch and start training.”

On the other hand, it matters Don’t wait for the perfect moment to start to exercise because the moment doesn’t exist. We can always find an excuse not to go. Therefore, every day would be good to start practicing it.

Another piece of advice comes from the hands of music: “Have an active music listwhich makes you happy and motivates you, which you can listen to when you are preparing to go to training and that helps you to increase your motivation”, he advises.

The fourth, and almost the most important of all, is find sports activities you like. This is important for obedience, if you are tired of weights that you do not go to the gym alone, because sooner or later you will fall into laziness, the same will happen if running is not your thing and you consider doing it. after this text”. And fifth and last -he concluded- “try searching people to practice, which also serves as support on days when you least like it”.

Stuart Martin

"Internet trailblazer. Troublemaker. Passionate alcohol lover. Beer advocate. Zombie ninja."

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