The beginning of fall is a time to reset and reprioritize. With back to school and back to work, the start of the fall season is a good time to set some new goals. One of the best ways to take advantage of the momentum of starting a new season is to try a new exercise routine or change up your existing one.
A new fall exercise routine also coincides with the need for better emotional and mental well-being as the weather cools off and the days get shorter. Paying extra attention to self-care is especially important as fall folds into winter, and many people become affected by seasonal changes. The good news is, exercise happens to be mother nature’s antidepressant.
Exercise is more closely linked with mental health than many people realize. According to Yale and Oxford researchers, regular exercise has a direct correlation with higher levels of happiness.
In a 2018 study, researchers from Yale and Oxford Universities evaluated 1.2 million adult Americans to find an association between activity levels and mental health quality.
The study participants were asked to estimate how many days within the last month their mental health was not good due to stress, depression or other emotional issues. The participants were then asked to describe their activity levels within the same timeframe. Researchers found that among people who exercised regularly, they reported 43% fewer days of poor mental health within the last month compared to people who didn’t exercise.
Interestingly, the researchers concluded that regardless of age, race, gender, income or education levels, people who exercise regularly have higher self-reported levels of happiness. The research also revealed that exercising for 30–60 minutes, 3–5 times per week was the physical activity “sweet spot,” and that exercising more or less than this may actually have a negative impact on mental health.
They also discovered that making significantly more money didn’t result in the same level of mental health improvements that physical exercise does.
If you’re looking to boost your happiness and maintain your emotional well-being this fall, then look no further than the start of a new physical activity regime. But why does physical activity boost our happiness?
There are several reasons why staying active can improve not only our physical health but our mental and emotional health too. Here are eight ways that starting a new exercise routine this fall can make you a happier person:
One of the most well-researched benefits of exercise is its effect on our hormones. During and after physical exertion, the brain releases endorphins. These feel-good hormones reduce our sense of pain and produce a feeling of euphoria. Studies have also found that the more intensely you exercise, the higher your endorphin release will be.
By incorporating a combination of moderate and high-intensity workouts, you can trigger a regular endorphin release and feel better after working out.
Physical activity usually leaves you feeling refreshed and energized. That’s because exercise boosts your circulation, ignites your cardiovascular system and stimulates your central nervous system. All of these effects lead to an increase in alertness and physical energy.
Exercise can help you overcome a sense of sluggishness so that you can feel more productive. The more energized you feel, the more enthusiasm you’ll have during the day.
Spending time outdoors is almost a guaranteed way to elevate your mood. As humans, we’re biologically connected to the great outdoors. Studies show that the longer we go without being outside, the more depressed we feel. By spending time outside we can interrupt negative emotions and relieve stress.
Not all exercise needs to be done in the gym. Starting a new fitness routine gives you a great excuse to get outside. Whether it’s trail running, road cycling or bodyweight workouts in the park, exercising outdoors is great for your lungs and your mind.
Several studies over the years have pointed to the positive relationship between exercise and sleep—especially for people with chronic insomnia. A regular moderate exercise routine can help people to fall asleep and stay asleep, and evenachieve deeper sleep for longer.
Sleep also has an impact on mood. Even partial sleep deprivation can cause more negative feelings such as sadness, anger, anxiety and mental fatigue. If you have trouble sleeping, exercise can help you sleep better and improve your mood.
If you’re looking to start a new exercise routine, but the challenge feels intimidating, a good solution is to pair up with a workout buddy. Having someone else as committed to fitness as you are helps maintain accountability, and it can be fun too.
Whether you’ve found a workout partner, hired a trainer or joined a fitness class, infusing your physical activity with social time can make exercise more enjoyable. You might even start to look forward to your workouts!
We all know that regular exercise is good for our physical health, but it can be good for our self-esteem as well. There’s a definite sense of satisfaction that comes with making a commitment to your personal health.
As you begin a new exercise routine, you may start to notice physical changes in your appearance and your stamina. Whether you’re losing weight, gaining strength or developing your coordination, becoming a better version of you is always a confidence booster.
As you improve your physical health, you might also start to enjoy deeper intimacy with your partner. You’ll have higher energy levels and be in better physical shape. Plus you’ll have more confidence, which can also boost your sex life.
According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise can increase arousal in women, and men who exercise regularly have fewer issues with erectile dysfunction than men who aren’t physically active.
Finally, regular exercise is a good way to spend some time away from the stressors of daily life like work, family or social obligations. Going to the gym, heading to spin class or running track are all ways to de-stress and make more time for yourself.
The more time you make for your personal health, the more energy and focus you’ll have to tackle your to-do lists. A commitment to exercise is a commitment to your mental health, and you’ll feel less stressed and more empowered as you develop your physical fitness.
If you’re ready to take the plunge and start a new fall exercise routine for better mental health, there are lots of places you can start. Whether you want to take a class, join a walking or running group or get back to the gym, beginning a fitness journey is an important way to take charge of your health and happiness.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your newest exercise habits:
Congratulations on the start of your new fall exercise routine! Staying fit and keeping in shape is the best way to stay strong and keep your back and spine healthy. Relax The Back can help you on your new fitness journey with wellness solutions that support fitness and physical therapy.
As you work out more, don't forget to stretch and roll to release tight fascia. Adding products like theCoreStretch andTherapy Foam Rollers to your workout equipment will help your joints and muscles stay healthy and strong. You’ll also reduce your risk of back injury and pulled muscles.
For particularly tough workout days, soothe sore muscles with our selection ofhot and cold therapy solutions. And when you’re recovering from an injury but want to stay active, don’t forget to wrap up injured parts with back, lumbar, wrist, knee or ankletherapy wraps and braces for additional support and safety.
For all your fitness, physical therapy and pain-relief needs,shop Relax The Back online today. Or visit yourlocal Relax The Back store to speak with knowledgeable experts who can recommend the right support and spine health solutions for you.