The mind and the body are connected in many ways, so it makes sense that how we treat our bodies can have a serious impact on our mental health.
“What is your diet like?” and “How often do you exercise?” can be common questions in a counseling session. If your mental health isn’t great, your answer to these questions may be the source of your struggle. Eating right and exercising are important mental health practices.
So, what does it mean to lead a healthy lifestyle? Health experts tell us that eating balanced meals and exercising a few times each week can make all the difference.
Research suggests that two thirds of people who don’t have daily mental health problems eat fresh fruit or have fruit juice every day. The statistics are the same for those who eat fresh vegetables and salad every day. On the other hand, those who eat fewer healthy foods, including junk food like chips and ready meals, report higher levels of mental health problems. A balanced diet should include a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, proteins, calcium and carbohydrates.
When it comes to exercise, research tells us that we need to do cardio at least three times a week. Other outlets of exercise can benefit health, as well. For example, yoga can be a great resource to manage stress and harness tranquility. Working out more than three or four days a week is great, too, but an important component of managing a healthy lifestyle is rest. If you don’t take at least one day off each week, it can hurt your body more than it will help.
It’s clear that maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle is important for your health, and we’ve given you some tips on how to do that. But how does it affect your mental health?
There are several mental health benefits to regularly exercising and sustaining a healthy diet, including improved sleep, stress relief, and less anxiety and depression. Of course, it can also help with weight reduction and weight management, leading to an in improvement in mood, sense of wellbeing, increased energy, and higher endurance. With all the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, making the decision to pursue one seems easy!
Clearly, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle go far beyond physical appearance – it can be a boon for your mental health, too.
Vanessa Daves is the Marketing Coordinator for Iris Telehealth.