This week is Mental Health Awareness Week so I felt like I should blog at least once on the topic this week.
I always enjoy writing about how our mental health affects our fitness and diet because I think the two are so interlinked that I’m just not sure any training routine or diet will help you much if your mind isn’t in the right place.
One thing I think often gets missed from fitness posts about mental health however is when exercise won’t help.
Because, it’s true, exercise has proven benefits for peoples mental health. It helps reduce stress, has shown to help alleviate depression and anxiety and helps increase confidence. Moving more and eating a bit better is overall good for you.
It isn’t a fix all though and I think sometimes that can get lost. Whilst exercise can be therapeutic in many cases of depression, anxiety and so on it doesn’t get to the route of the issue itself. In a lot of cases what we need to do if we are suffering from a mental health condition (as opposed to feeling a bit down for a short period of time which is natural and happens to us all at some point in life) is speak to a doctor, who might prescribe medication or refer you for a suitable type of therapy where you can work through the causes and look to deal with them. Most doctors in my experience will also encourage you to be active and eat well but it’s rarely the only thing they prescribe.
The other thing to remember about training and mental health is that whilst it can be a real benefit, in some situations it can also become a problem. Overtraining is a real risk when people use exercise as a way to feel better, and without having other coping mechanisms away from the gym to help self soothe exercise can be as problematic s it is beneficial.
I think we need to remember that when we talk about exercise and mental health. That training alone often isn’t enough and there’s no shame in also getting medical help.
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