It’s true what they say: movement is medicine! If you’re on a journey to improve your mental health as well as your physical health, exercise is a great place to start. Not only will moving your body give you a hit of mood-boosting endorphins, but it can also reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Recent studies even show that exercise can be as beneficial as antidepressants for people with non-severe depression, and effects can appear in as little as three weeks.
To get the most mental health benefits out of your workout, you’ll need to approach exercise with intention. Whether you’re a runner, a weightlifter, or you’re just trying to get a few more steps in every day, here are some tips for maximizing the mental health benefits of your next workout:
Set an intention
Before you begin your workout, take a moment to set an intention. This could be as simple as focusing on your breath or setting a goal for the workout. By setting an intention, you're signaling to your mind and body that this is a time for self-care.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment without judgment. You can incorporate mindfulness into your workout by paying attention to your body and breath as you exercise. The phrase “mind muscle connection” gets tossed around a lot when it comes to mastering your form, but it can also help reduce stress and improve focus, and help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions.
Mix it up
Doing the same workout every day can get boring and may not challenge your mind and body in new ways. Try mixing up your workouts to keep things interesting and challenging. Your XPASS points can be redeemed for a huge variety of workout classes ranging from boxing to barre and everything in between. Now’s your chance to try something new with nothing to lose.
After your workout (or even during!) take a moment to reflect on what you're grateful for. This can be as simple as appreciating your body for the hard work it just did or feeling thankful for the opportunity to exercise. Practicing gratitude can help improve mood and reduce stress.
Connect with others
Exercise can be a social activity, and connecting with others can help improve mental health. Get a friend or family member to join you on XPASS and enjoy the accountability and community.