Mental health awareness is something that is being pushed by governments and state officials not only in the UAE but all over the world. Now more than ever has mental health become a global health crisis.

Read More:

In the UAE, anxiety is the leading mental health disorder, followed by substance abuse, depression, eating disorder, and schizophrenia. With the pressure of financial commitments, work, school, and social welfare, a lot of people can crack under the intense pressure and developmental disorders that can later turn into more serious health complications.

People should be educated on how to tackle mental disorders and not suffer in silence. With that being said, in this article, we will go through 8 exercises that can help to combat and ease the stigmas of anxiety and depression. 

Exercises to Boost Your Mental Health

anxiety and depression

1. Running

Running has been associated with benefitting physical health all of the time. But as mental health awareness is on the rise, so is awareness regarding the benefits of running for mental health.

When practiced regularly, not only does running help with cardiovascular health, but it can greatly relieve stress and calm you down. It also helps you to feel generally happier due to the release of a hormone called serotonin; the hormone that makes you feel happier and can boost your mood. 

2. Yoga

One of the first exercises people think of in terms of improving mental health problems is yoga. Anxiety and depression can be greatly managed and alleviated through consistent and effective yoga. When practiced regularly, yoga can help to alleviate stress, improve mood, increase peace of mind and also benefit your physical health.

Yoga is also known to improve cognitive functioning, improve memory and teach you calming techniques. Yoga is widely available in the UAE with many health centers and classes open to the public.

3. Swimming

For people who simply don’t like running or find it boring, swimming is another cardiovascular exercise that is also effective for cardiovascular health and mental health. Swimming contains a lot of concentration and coordination.

This can help you take your mind off of thoughts that may be causing anxiety and depression. It’s also a great way for you to just relax and have fun.

4. Hiking

Hiking is probably the only exercise that draws a strong connection between humans and nature. Often seen as endurance and cardiovascular activity, hiking is one of the best ways to combat anxiety and depression as it removes you from its causes. Many people develop anxiety and stress from the environment they put themselves in.

Whether it be work, school, financial problems, bullying or other causes of pressure and worry, these environments may be the cause of mental disorders to develop. Going for a hike will not only improves your physical health but also helps you feel refreshed and puts you in a simpler, calm and fresh state of mind. 

5. Weight lifting

Lifting weights has often been associated as a sport or hobby for men. However, weight-lifting is also effective for women. Not only does it put you in better shape, but can also have positive effects on your mental health.

Like most exercises, weightlifting is a long term hobby you have to stick with consistently to see results. It gives you something to stay motivated about. Being stronger and being in good shape can also help build confidence and self-esteem, something that people with anxiety and depression need.

6. Dancing

Not commonly referred to as an exercise, dancing is more catered towards enjoyment and entertainment as opposed to physical exercise. And though dancing is designed for you to have fun, it very much is a physical exercise that can benefit your physical and mental health.

Dancing helps you increase your self-esteem, as well as allowing you to get away from your daily stresses and focus on something that makes you happy. 

7. Cycling

A physically engaging activity, cycling consistently with moderate intensity can help stimulate serotonin hormones and make you feel happier. Studies have shown that cycling can significantly help with dropping stress levels Cycling also pushes you to develop better coordination and cognitive functioning.

When to Seek Help?

anxiety and depression

If you notice that you or someone you know is not mentally doing well, seek advice as soon as possible. Although a lot of people who may have mental disorders don’t like to open up or admit they have an issue, as a friend or someone who cares, we should try to at least get them to open up about it. 

If you are suffering from a mental disorder or notice that your mental health is not in good shape, you can speak with your doctor or professional psychiatrist. You can also find national helplines for discrete support. The most important thing is to take the first step. Even opening up to a friend, family member, or partner is a great place to start. 

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.