Cardio for Your Mental Health

People everywhere exercise to improve cardiovascular health, build muscle, lean out, and slim down, but working out has many benefits for your mental health as well. For the past 10-15 years scientists have questioned how exercise can boost your brain power and mood. Study after study shows that making time for exercise, even for as little as 30 minutes a day, can provide serious health benefits in regards to cognitive function, mental health, personal and professional relationships, and lead to a healthier and happier life overall.

Personally, I’m a runner. It started as a child growing up on a block with all boys and continues now on an almost daily basis. There’s something about being able to throw on a pair of tennis shoes and hit the door, pounding the pavement wherever I happen to be. It turns out I have quite an affinity for it and though I was never, nor will I ever, be a sprinter, I can run distance with the best of them. By mile 3 my mind is blissfully clear, and I am tired enough to think of only where my feet are landing and how many breaths I am taking. Throughout my life I have found that running is what I turn to in times of stress, happiness, and sadness. Back to school blues? Go for a run. Family drama? Go for a run. Man trouble? Go for a REALLY long run. If you’re not a runner, the following are 6 types of exercise in Hawaii that can get your blood pumping and happy juices flowing:

Yoga– a wonderful way to give back to your body as you ask of it. It increases body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, and calms and centers the nervous system

Kayaking– as a silent, non-competitive sport, it’s also a great way to clear your head whether you are alone or with a partner

Hiking–  a recent study suggests that even a 90- minute stroll in a natural environment can lead to measurable changes in the brain, and may help combat depression

Swimming– for just half an hour three times a week swimming can lower stress levels, raise mood, lower incidences of depression and anxiety, and improve sleep patterns

Surfing– as a form of therapy surfing is gaining traction as a form of treatment for PTSD and because it requires so much of your energy and attention, it can be a wonderful distraction

Snorkeling- according to the Mayo Clinic snorkeling regularly may help you feel more calm and at ease through simple relaxation as the controlled mouth breathing required is similar to many meditative breathing techniques

Whether you’re a runner, walker, or somewhere in between think about raising your heart rate for your mental health. Your body and brain will thank you! Here at OSR we know that cardio is important for your overall health including your mental health. If you are suffering from pain, give us a call at 488-5555!

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