When we think about an ideal exercise plan, our top priority is usually physical health. The muscles we want to tone, the strength we want to build, the stamina we want to increase — these are all great things to keep in mind. However, it’s important not to overlook our body’s most complex organ: the brain.  Working out is vital not just for your physical health, but for your mental health too. In this post, we’ve put together a list of some of the best exercises to boost your emotional wellbeing. Whether you’re struggling with mood or simply looking for a way to relax after a long day, these activities are proven to help calm your thoughts and lift your spirits. 

1. Yoga

It should come as no surprise that yoga tops our list of exercises proven to lift your spirit! It’s a powerful practice that combines physical exercise with mindfulness. Yoga teaches you not only to care about you look, but also how your body feels.

There’s a range of yoga training options (both online and f2f) available. No matter which you choose, the mental health benefits are extensive. A study in 2016 found that practicing yoga regularly could help to alleviate anxiety, depression, and even symptoms of PTSD. 

The gentle stretches, deep breathing, and meditative aspects of yoga make it an excellent choice for anyone looking to bring a sense of balance to their everyday routine. 

2. Swimming

For hundreds of years, humans have associated water with a sense of tranquility. Swimming enables us to harness the health benefits of aerobic exercise while also enjoying the relaxing qualities of spending time in the water. 

According to the Just Swim in the United Kingdom, studies have shown that regular swimming sessions can significantly reduce the symptoms of some mental health conditions. Amazingly, almost 500,000 adults in the UK reported that they needed fewer visits to their mental health professional after taking up the sport! 

3. Walking

If you prefer to do high intensity workouts, it can be easy to forget that walking is a great and simple form of exercise. It’s also completely free!. Not only does walking for at least 10 minutes tick off your daily cardiovascular needs, but it’s also a fantastic way to boost your heart rate and lower your stress levels. 

Whether you choose to go for a rural hike or an evening city walk, choose a route where you feel completely safe and can let your mind wander (remember that for some people, walking can be a form of meditation). Researchers have even proved that walking eases anxiety, boosts self-esteem, improves our problem solving skills, and helps reduce insomnia. 

4. Team Sports

Exercise doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor. Whether your favorite sport is tennis, football, or even organized dance, working out in a group combines the mental health benefits of exercise with socializing in a community. Few things lift the spirit more than like-minded people. 

Spending time with like-minded friends (or even strangers, if you’re joining a local sports club) can improve our sense of self-worth, human connection, and community. Regardless of your sporting ability, taking part in team sports will mean you’re always onto a winner when it comes to your mental wellbeing. 

Bottom Line

If you find yourself feeling a little worn down, these four exercises might be the pick-me-up you need. Whether you’re looking to take things slow with a yoga workout or take part in a high-intensity team sport, we hope you’ve discovered a way to lift your spirit through exercises that supports your mental health!