We all know that exercise is beneficial for keeping fit and reducing the risks of physical illness. However, not everyone knows the benefits of exercise for your mental health. 
Just like our physical fitness, our mental health can change day-to-day. If we’re not picking up good habits to improve our mental health and wellbeing, it’ll decline. 
The good news is there are many emotional benefits of exercise. Exercise not only reduces your stress levels and boosts your happiness, but it can also spark up your self-confidence, alleviate your anxiety, and keep your brain feeling happy and healthy.  

Four best exercises for mental health  We know it’s not easy to make a start. And it’s important to remember the best exercise for your mental health is the exercise you enjoy. To help get your gears in motion here’s four exercises you can jump right into 

1. Swimming 

Family in swimming pool
Whether you’re swimming lanes or splashing around, regular swimming can help ease anxiety and improve your sleep patterns. Swimming releases endorphins, which can lead to a 30% improvement in your self-worth*. Let’s face it, being in the water all makes us feel a little freer from our worries. 

2. Yoga 

Children playing basketball
Yoga is the perfect place to unwind whilst building harmony and strength in both your body and mind. Yoga’s breathing techniques and meditation is great for increasing your flexibility and improving your energy, but it also creates mental clarity, relaxes the mind, and sharpens your concentration. 

3. Walking/Running 

Boys in swimming pool
We’ve all heard of runner’s high before. We’re here to say it’s true. Running helps boost your body’s ability to deal with mental tension and boosts your brainpower. Walking will do the same for your body and mind. If the weather’s good, a sunny day walk or run helps produce Vitamin D, lessening the likelihood of experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety. 

4. Indoor and outdoor Cycling 

Children on slide at Berzerk
If running isn’t your cup of tea, why not get pedalling to happiness. Whether you’re cycling in the great outdoors or taking part in a spin class, the benefits to your mental health are endless. Cycling improves your creative thinking through its uniform movements and can help strengthen your memory. Cycling can help you zone out and promote positive thought patterns for your wellbeing. 

It's Time To Shine 

We’re here to help you level up your mental health. You can discover your happy place at any of our five centres across Northampton. Whether you’re diving into our pools, signing up to a spin class, or simply enjoying the social element of our gyms, we’re designed to help you be a better you. 
Keeping it in the community 
Our Health and Wellbeing Development team works in partnership with various agencies across Northampton to develop opportunities for people to take part in physical activity in our facilities and our local community. If you or someone you care about is struggling with their mental health, there’s plenty of places locally you can visit. 
Action for Happiness 
Action for Happiness is a movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society. We want to see a fundamentally different way of life - where people care less about what they can get just for themselves and more about the happiness of others. Ten Keys to Happier Living and how to you can put these into practice today.  
Feeling lethargic, unmotivated, not feeling like your usual self? Could you benefit from support by talking to someone? 
IAPT Talking Therapies work with people across Northamptonshire who are trying to get back on track, although they may feel stressed, low or anxious. 
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