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Exercising for your mental health

Updated: Mar 1, 2022

The goal here is to do any type of movement that makes you happy!

We had an incredible community call on Sunday February 20th where we were joined by current and former D1 athletes who talked about how they exercise for their mental health. There were many insights and stories shared by everyone at the meeting and we've made a list of the ideas shared and the many resources. At the end of the recap you'll find a list of workout ideas that are specifically to boost your mood. There is a lot of stress related to exercising whether that is performance anxiety, what you look like in the gym, comparing your body to others, or a fear of not being good enough. Our goal is to alleviate those fears and talk about how amazing even a 10 minute walk or stretch can be for your mind!

Advice for moving for your mental health:

  • Think about exercise as a form of self-care and make sure it is fun!! You do not need to over-exert yourself for it to count as a workout.

  • Differentiate between "working out" and "moving". Working out can feel like a burden and adds pressure to your day but moving is freeing!

  • Make a playlist you love listening to and makes you feel like dancing.

  • Choose a type of exercise that you actually like to do. It can be playing a sport in a recreational or intramural league, swimming, surfing, skiing, walking, kickboxing, absolutely anything.

  • Accept yourself for where you are with fitness. Do not compare yourself to others or your former self. Just because you used to be able to run 3 miles in 25 minutes does not mean you need to at this moment in your life.

  • If all you can do today is stretch or go for a walk around the block, congratulate yourself! Any movement will help your mental health.

  • Take a day off when you need it. There should not be pressure to "do a workout" every single day.

  • It's not about the numbers!! Take your watch off, you don't need to track what you are doing if it makes you stressed :) Your body will remember your movement even if technology doesn't.

Helpful mindfullness apps:

  • Insight timer- over 100,000 FREE meditations for all moods and activities

  • Tapping solution- guided body tapping routine to reduce stress

  • I AM app- helpful affirmations that show up in a widget on your phone

  • Motivation app- motivational quotes in a widget to keep you moving

  • 1 second a day- record all the movement and fun things you do!

Workout Ideas:

These workout ideas are not necessarily meant to build strength or get you on a fitness plan. They are meant to show you that working out does not need to be a chore. Just elevate your heart rate for 15-30 minutes to release endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!

1. Grab a buddy and do something FUN!

  • Grab one friend or a group and suggest getting outside and doing something fun but low impact!