4 Exercises to Improve Your Mental Health and Work Performance
Kickboxing, exercising

How you work has a lot to do with how you feel. More and more companies are acknowledging the importance of work-life balance in productivity, and how exercise and mental health contribute to finding that middle ground.

Exercise helps reduce anxiety, depression, and negative thoughts that might affect your self-esteem and cognitive function. It’s also important for reducing stress and helping you sleep better. And all these benefits have a positive impact on your performance at work.

Whether from home or at the office, here are some exercises you can try to begin improving your mental health and work performance:

Dance

Nietzsche said that we should consider every day on which we have not danced at least once lost. And it’s true. When it comes to physical benefits, dancing helps increase flexibility, improve posture, and is a great aerobic exercise that burn calories. At the same time, dancing helps lift your mood, reduce anxiety and depression, and allows you to let go of stress from life and work. Plus, dancing stimulates our senses and increases the use of both parts of our brain, to help boost creativity and problem-solving skills.

Check out this Spotify “Dance Hits Workout” playlist to get dancing.

Kick Boxing

There is significant evidence suggesting that kickboxing, which involves aerobic and anaerobic exercises, positively impacts your mood. It’s not only an endorphin shot (a 60-minute class is enough to get you moving and feeling great), but it’s also a way to improve concentration. Since kickboxing sequences involve memorizing steps and following a certain rhythm, there is a part of the exercise that has to do with being present and focused so that you won’t miss the steps and fall out of rhythm. It’s also a healthy outlet for letting go of stress, anger, and frustration.

Many kickboxing gyms include gloves and bandages in their subscriptions, so you don’t have to invest a lot of money to begin.

Yoga

Studies show that, when you practice yoga, your brain develops new connections that help improve cognitive skills, including learning, memory, attention, awareness, and thought. At the same time, most yoga practices involve learning relaxation and mindfulness techniques that you can apply to your daily life and that have a long-lasting effect on your mental and physical health. The mentality surrounding yoga, which has to do with being good to yourself, rather than good at something, as well as letting go of things that keep you from moving forward, is especially beneficial to our work lives.

If you’re looking for ways to start, check out the wide range of talented yoga teachers on YouTube, with free classes you can take at any time, or check out apps such as Daily Yoga or Down Dog.

Running

A great benefit of running is building stamina and developing patience with the process to achieve your goals. Like many other exercises, running is said to increase the circulation of blood to the brain and have an influence on your reactivity to stress. Not only are you working on your motivation, willpower, and resilience —which you will later apply to work— but you’re also preparing your brain for stressful situations and giving it a break from daily life expectations.

As renowned author Haruki Murakami says, “The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday…the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.”

Related content: 

5 Practices for Learning How to Pause and Recharge at Home

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