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Adding more physical activity in your daily life can help your mental health

Updated on:30 November 2020, 00:13am IST
If you can’t hit the gym or go for a run—then don’t worry. Physical activity in your daily life, like taking the stairs, can also boost your mental health.
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Get moving to improve your mental well-being. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Enough has been said about physical activity and mental health—especially during these covid times. We know that working out—including going to the gym, running, and cycling—can boost our mental health. But, given these circumstances when going out can turn into a health hazard, what can one do?

Well, if home workouts aren’t really your thing, then just climbing the stairs can do the trick! According to a study published in the journal Science Advances, climbing stairs can take care of your mental health by energising you!

“Climbing stairs every day may help us feel awake and full of energy. This enhances our well-being,” said the first authors of the study. The research was helmed by the scientific community at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Central Institute of Mental Health (CIMH) in Mannheim in Germany.

Also read: Here’s proof that the mental health benefits of exercise are too good to be ignored 

“Currently, we are experiencing strong restrictions of public life and social contacts, which may adversely affect our well-being,” says Professor Heike Tost, Head of the Systems Neuroscience Psychiatry Research Group of the Psychiatry and Psychotherapy Clinic. “To feel better, it may help to more often climb stairs,” he added.

Not just stairs, other everyday activities can aid mental health too

The researchers wanted to analyze the impact of daily activities that involve physical exertion, like walking, on mental health. For the same, they made assessments using movement sensors and smartphone surveys. These focused on the well-being of the participants that were triggered by geolocation data as soon as the subjects moved.

physical activity and mental health
Better mental health is just a 30-minute walk away. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Close to 70 research participants were subjected to these assessments to determine the impact of daily activity on alertness for a week. The researchers observed that the subjects were more alert and energetic immediately after the activity.

Professor Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, Director of CIMH and Medical Director of the Psychiatry and Psychotherapy Clinic, says:

The results suggest that physical activity in everyday life is beneficial to well-being, in particular in persons susceptible to psychiatric disorders.

Physical activity in daily life can also help with weight management

While you may need to exercise religiously and go on a diet in order to see major weight loss, when you move about in your daily life, we keep excess weight gain at bay.

According to the National Health Portal of India, adults between the ages of 18 to 64 years of age should indulge in moderate-level physical activity for at least 150 minutes every week. Double this number, and you are very much likely to see even more benefits—then be it for heart health or weight loss.

And if a structured way of working out—like brisk walking, running, or hitting the gym—aren’t really your thing, then including more activity in your daily life can help a great deal.

How can you achieve this feat? Well, walk or cycle to the market, instead of taking your car. Ditch the lift and take the stairs. Get your hands dirty and partake in some household chores like gardening, mopping, and/or washing laundry. Just making these changes can boost your mental health and physical health by leaps and bounds.

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