With the COVID-19 pandemic going on, many people can no longer do the things that they used to do for fun due to the need for social isolation. As a result, many people are starting to become depressed and lonely. This is especially true for teens who use socialization to help them develop who they are and what they stand for.
People that have mental illness tend to isolate themselves because they are depressed, anxious, stressed, etc. One thing that people can do to prevent this from occurring is needing to participate in extracurricular activities. One particular extracurricular activity that can help people manage mental illness is exercise.
How You Can Exercise During the Pandemic
One way to exercise during the pandemic is to run, walk, or perform exercises outside. Doing this can be great for the body and mind as it will allow you to get some vitamin D and time alone with your thoughts in nature.
Another way to exercise during the pandemic is to join a virtual exercise group. One thing that today’s society is lucky to have during a pandemic is technology. This is because technology allows people to communicate with one another while being far apart. Thus, you can talk and perform extracurricular activities with other people while still social distancing.
Plus, virtual exercise groups can help provide a sense of community and support to those that choose to be a part of it. Participating in virtual exercise groups is beneficial for youth that needs community and support to get through their teenage years during a pandemic. Virtual exercise groups are also beneficial for people with mental health issues, as they can be a healthy distraction.
The Importance of Physical Activity
The importance of physical activity is evident in the fact that it leads to improved physical health. There are many other specific reasons why the extracurricular activity of exercising leads to improved physical health. Some of these reasons are given below.
It Helps Regulate Weight
One way that exercise can benefit your physical health is by helping you regulate your weight. This is because exercise can help your body use up oxygen and burn stored body fat. This can help the human body retain a normal body weight. This is great for people that may have lost or gained tons of weight due to mental health complications, or just want to maintain their healthy body size after treatment.
It Helps Build Body Muscle and Bone Strength
The importance of physical activity is also evident in the fact that it helps the body build muscle and bone strength. As a result, your body will be less fragile. The less fragile the body is, the easier it is for a person with mental health conditions to become stronger over time through exercise and other extracurricular activities.
It Improves the Immune System
Another way that extracurricular activities such as exercise can benefit people with mental health disorders is by improving their immune systems. Mental health affects all aspects of life, including mood, thinking, and behavior. Doing some sort of extracurricular activity can improve someone’s immune system, and help those suffering better manage their symptoms and learn to cope with their conditions.
It Can Boost Your Energy
Exercise releases endorphins in the body. As mental illness affects an individual’s mood, doing activities do not only improve mood and reduce stress but also can also boost energy levels.
It Improves Sleep Quality
Participating in extracurricular activities such as exercise can even improve your sleep quality. This is because exercising will help tire out your body at the end of the day.
Because your body repairs itself during sleep, getting better quality sleep will improve one’s overall health and well-being. With such improved health and well-being, individuals can more easily manage their mental illnesses during the pandemic.
How Exercise Helps Improve Mental Health
Mental health is one of the main things that people have been struggling with during the pandemic. This is especially true for teens that are losing structure and socialization during a pivotal point in their lives.
Mental health is also an issue for those with problematic behavior during the pandemic who may also have struggled with a co-occurring mental illness. Mental illness may occur as post-acute withdrawal symptoms.
Luckily, for adults and teens with mental illness, exercise can help improve their overall health. One way that extracurricular activities such as exercise can help improve mental health is by causing the brain to release endorphins. Because endorphins help people feel positive feelings, they can help keep people from becoming depressed.
Another way that extracurricular activities such as exercise help with mental health are that they can reduce inflammation in the brain and body. This will help those who exercise feel better.
Exercise even induces positive neural growth and new positive patterns in the brain. With such positive neural growth and positive brain patterns, it’s easier for people to remain positive and less stressed during the pandemic. This, in turn, means that it’s also easier for individuals to manage their mental illnesses during the pandemic.
Connection Between Physical and Mental Health
Improved mental health due to exercise and other extracurricular activities simultaneously improves physical health. This is partly because mental illness is often the catalyst that leads to many other complications. That is why professional mental health treatment is of utmost importance, to receive an accurate diagnosis and management of symptoms. Without it, the quality of life will remain significantly compromised.
Also, poor mental health often causes people to mope around for weeks on end with little to no movement. Thus, improved mental health leads to people moving around and about again, which leads to improved physical health. Thus, in a way, exercising is a form of holistic healing.
Effects COVID-19 Has Had on Mental Health
COVID-19 has only negatively affected those in recovery. One way that COVID-19 negatively affected them is by causing them to have to be alone. When left alone for too long, mental health sufferers can become depressed and idle.
The lack of socialization that the pandemic brought onto everyone also causes people with mental conditions to lose the ability to communicate with everyone in their support system in person. This could cause individuals to feel like they are no longer supported.
Thus, people feeling as if they don’t have any true support anymore can cause them to develop mental illnesses. This, in turn, can make it difficult to cope, causing further complications.
It also doesn’t help that every day there is bad news on television and the internet about the progress of the pandemic. By continuously listening to negative news reports about the pandemic, individuals with mental health can start to lose hope. Once this happens, it’s only a small step before people start to struggle with their mental health issues again.
Ways Exercise Can Help People Avoid Problematic Behavior
There are numerous specific ways that exercise can benefit people with mental illness especially during a pandemic. Some of the ways that exercise can help adults and teenagers with mental illnesses are described below.
Helps Improve Self-Esteem
One major way that exercise can help adults and teens manage mental illness is by improving their self-esteem. People that suffer from mental health disorders often struggle with low self-esteem due to messing up their lives with their chronic conditions. It also doesn’t help that people harshly judge people that suffer from mental illness. As a result, people that suffer from mental illness need some way to get their self-esteem back.
One way to get self-esteem back during the pandemic is to participate in outdoor or virtual extracurricular activities such as exercising. By getting back in shape and becoming healthier, people with mental and behavioral disorders will feel proud of themselves. This will, in turn, rebuild their self-esteem.
Helps People Develop a Sense of Meaning
Once individuals with mental illness rebuild their self-esteem, they will regain their sense of meaning not long after. This is because of the newfound confidence that exercising will motivate anyone to figure out what the purposes of their lives are.
Helps Develop Identity
Self-esteem combined with a sense of meaning turns into an identity. Regaining a clear and authentic identity is monumental for individuals that suffer from mental illness. Regaining identity through extracurricular activities such as exercise is particularly beneficial for teenagers since they are already struggling to find their own identities.
Helps Develop a Sense of Belonging
During a pandemic, when people are being isolated, it’s important to still find a way to be a part of a community. Exercising and other extracurricular activities can act as a form of community for mental health. This is especially true if you choose to participate virtually in an extracurricular activity with a group of other individuals.
Improve Every Aspect of Your Life at Montare Behavioral Health
At Montare Behavioral Health, we understand how unconventional treatment methods can help people learn to better manage their mental illness. That’s why we provide a wide variety of unique mental health therapy and treatment methods at our treatment facility. For example, we offer our patients equine therapy, meditation, holistic healing, and more.
At Montare BH, we aim to not only help our patients better their lives through mental health treatment, but also improve every aspect of their lives. Ultimately, we hope that all of our patients leave our treatment facility with meaning and purpose.
To learn more about Montare Behavioral Health, contact us today! We would love to help you get through your mental health issues during this pandemic.