As a therapist, you know that mental health is a complex issue. There are many factors that contribute to an individual’s mental well-being, and each person is different. However, one common thread that you can often find in your clients is a lack of physical activity. It’s no secret that exercise has myriad benefits for physical health, but did you know that it can also have a positive impact on mental health? Let’s take a look at how exercise can enhance your mental health.
Exercise and Mental Health
A growing body of research has shown that exercise can be an effective treatment for mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and stress. Exercise releases endorphins—chemicals in the brain that have mood-boosting effects—and it also helps to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In addition, exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality and cognitive function. For these reasons, it’s no surprise that exercise is often recommended as a way to improve mental health.
How Exercise Can Help Your Clients
If you’re looking for ways to help your clients improve their mental health, adding exercise into the mix is a great option. Exercise can be used as an adjunct to traditional therapy or as a standalone treatment. If you’re thinking about incorporating exercise into your therapy sessions, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it’s important to tailor the type and intensity of the exercise to the individual client. Some people may benefit from more high-intensity activities such as running or HIIT workouts, while others may prefer lower-intensity activities such as walking or yoga. Second, it’s important to make sure that the exercise program is sustainable and realistic. You don’t want your clients to burn out or get injured by doing too much too soon. Start slowly and gradually increase the frequency and intensity of the workouts over time. Finally, it’s important to give your clients the tools they need to be successful. This means helping them develop a plan for sticking with their workout routine and providing encouragement and support along the way.
Incorporating exercise into your therapy sessions is a great way to help your clients improve their mental health. Exercise has been shown to improve mood, reduce stress levels, and improve sleep quality and cognitive function. When incorporating exercise into therapy sessions, it’s important to tailor the type and intensity of the activity to the individual client and make sure that the program is sustainable and realistic. By giving your clients the tools they need to be successful, you can help them make lasting changes in their mental health. I can also speak to this from personal experience, as I also teach Zumba classes! Teaching Zumba gives me an appointment every week that I have to attend- I need to be there for my students! It’s helped motivate me when I don’t feel like exercising and guess what? I always feel better after I teach my classes, the music and dancing allows me to let go and increases my endorphins. Find what works for you and start incorporating it into your daily routine. I’d love to read what your favorite form of exercise is and how you implement it into your week!