Mental Health Through Movement
By Dominic Pereira
In today’s fast-paced world, where stress and anxiety are constant companions, taking care of your mental health is more important than ever. While traditional therapies and medications have their place, there are also natural and holistic approaches to enhancing your mental well-being.
One can achieve noticeable results by practicing mindful movement with modalities like Pilates or Fascial Fitness, combined with other regular physical activity.
Let’s jump in and explore the subtle and profound ways these activities can support and improve your mental health.
The Mind-Body Connection
Pilates and various other forms of movement are deeply rooted in the mind-body connection. They emphasize the importance of being present in the moment, connecting with your body, and regulating your breathing. This mindfulness is a powerful tool in managing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
A. Strengthening the Core, Soothing the Mind
Pilates is renowned for its core-strengthening benefits, but its impact on mental health might surprise you. When you engage in Pilates exercises, you work on your physical strength and enhance your mental resilience.
By focusing on controlled movements and deliberate breathing, Pilates helps reduce stress levels. It promotes relaxation and releases tension, significantly benefiting individuals struggling with anxiety disorders. Regular Pilates practice can improve sleep patterns, increase self-confidence, and give you a more positive outlook on life. This is accomplished because it allows you to move from a state of fight and flight (sympathetic nervous system) to one of rest and digest (parasympathetic).
B. Finding Balance and Serenity
Similar to Yoga, Pilates combines physical postures, breath control, and breath meditation to create a harmonious balance in the body and mind.
One of the most significant advantages of Pilates for mental health is its ability to alleviate stress. The deep breathing techniques employed help activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for relaxation. These techniques can decrease cortisol, the stress hormone, and increase feel-good hormones like serotonin.
Pilates also encourages self-awareness and self-acceptance. Through regular practice, individuals often experience reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. The sense of community in classes can also improve mental health by providing a supportive social environment.
Fascial Fitness: The Interconnectivity of Body and Mind
Fascial fitness, often overshadowed by more conventional exercise techniques, can be key in unlocking mental well-being. This often-neglected system of connective tissue throughout our bodies profoundly affects our mental health. By incorporating fascial fitness routines, you’re optimizing your physical health and nurturing your mental resilience.
You engage in fluid and dynamic movements through fascial fitness exercises that release tension and stress within the fascial network. This unique approach connects with the body’s inherent intelligence, encouraging relaxation and restoring balance. As a result, the benefits extend to the mind, offering relief for individuals battling anxiety or chronic stress. Consistent fascial fitness practice can lead to a heightened sense of tranquility, improved emotional well-being, and a more harmonious relationship between the body and mind, contributing to overall mental clarity and vitality.
Regular Movement: The Power of Daily Activity
While the above are structured practices, daily movement doesn’t have to adhere to any particular form. A simple 10-minute daily routine of brisk walking, stretching, or dancing can make a remarkable difference in your mental well-being.
According to TheHealthHub, non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is responsible for around 70% of your daily calorie requirements or metabolic output.
Even in short bursts, physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters. It can enhance cognitive function, boost self-esteem, and alleviate symptoms of depression. Incorporating movement into your daily routine can be a powerful and accessible way to manage your mental health.
Group Classes: The Social Connection
Participating in group classes offers unique advantages for mental health. It allows individuals to connect with like-minded individuals, fostering a sense of belonging and reducing feelings of isolation.
Being part of a group can also provide motivation and accountability. Knowing that you have a class to attend or friends to meet at the studio can encourage consistency in your practice, which is essential for reaping the mental health benefits.
Incorporating Pilates classes and regular movement into your life can be a transformative step toward better mental health. These practices promote mindfulness, reduce stress, and provide opportunities for social interaction. Even dedicating just 10 minutes a day to movement can positively impact your overall well-being.
Remember that the journey to improved mental health is unique for everyone. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional if you have specific concerns or conditions. However, by adding Pilates, Fascial Fitness and daily movement to your routine, you can take a proactive and holistic approach to nurturing your mental well-being.
- Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) – the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. – Levine JA. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT)
Find Some Balance with moveOn 89
Begin Your Journey to Mental Well-Being with moveOn89, where we offer classes in Pilates, Fascial Fitness, and HIIT Training. Find the right class for you and start realizing the healing power of physical movement for mental health. Book your class today.
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