You already know that exercise serves as a key component to a medical weight loss plan. But exercise can also boost your mental health. And because improved mental health reduces the hormonal imbalances that lead to weight gain and cravings, all of these factors influence one another. A balanced, healthy lifestyle helps you to achieve multiple goals at once.
So, you probably already know that simply moving your body can release endorphins that fight stress, depression, and anxiety. You’ll also sleep better at night when you pursue a regular exercise routine. But did you know that you can tweak your workouts to maximize these benefits?
Go outside. All workouts benefit your mind and body. But because spending time outdoors can reduce your cortisol levels (the stress hormone), why not move your workout outdoors? You can achieve two goals in the same amount of time. And exercising outdoors is more fun, anyway, so you are more likely to stick with your workout routine.
Focus on your breath. In yoga, practitioners focus on their breath to achieve greater relaxation of the mind and body. But you can create the same effect during any type of workout. Focus on breathing deeply, fully expanding your lungs with each breath. Counting during breaths can also help you to maintain a comfortable pace.
Exercise mindfully. Rather than watching a video while riding a stationary bike, or listening to music while out on a walk, turn off all of the distractions. Focus on your body’s movements, your breath, and each individual feeling. You can actually achieve an effect similar to meditation when you exercise this way.
Make it a group effort. While relaxation and meditation can be important for mental health, so is socialization. If you’re already quite introverted or work remotely, you might not enjoy enough social stimulation. Your exercise session represents an opportunity to join a class, or at least invite a friend to come along. Team sports represent another fun option to combine exercise with mental health benefits.
As your mental health improves, you will probably find it easier to stick to your medical weight loss plan. But if you still experience stress, bothersome cravings, or other obstacles, do schedule an appointment with us to discuss your concerns. We can help you identify workable solutions for your situation.