What Exercise Is Best for Your Mental Health?

Along with improving your physical health and appearance, exercise also boosts your mental well-being. But some workouts are better for your mind than others. Keep reading to learn what exercises are best for your mental health and why.

Why Exercise Is Beneficial for Your Mental Health

Before we get into the various exercises, why is physical activity positive for mental wellness? Exercise increases our mental alertness and energy and puts us in a positive mood as the exercise activates chemicals in our brain like dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin, which all help improve brain function.

Regular, consistent exercise can relieve stress and improve self-esteem. More frequent exercise can improve various mental well-being issues, from anxiety and depression to insomnia.

Exercises for Your Mental Health

Now that we’ve covered how exercise benefits your mental health, what exercise is best for mental well-being?

Cardio Workouts

For mental clarity and relief, cardio training is an excellent choice as you can do it in 30 minutes or less, and it doesn’t require additional equipment. Going for a jog, a hike, or just a walk for a half-hour to an hour a couple of days a week are all great options for cardio exercise to relieve stress. If you don’t have the physical capability or want a more low-impact workout, swimming is also an excellent choice for cardio.

Team Sports

Along with the self-esteem and mood-boosting benefits of exercise, they also provide an opportunity to socialize more. If you want to exercise while meeting new people and making friends, consider signing up for recreational team sports leagues, like:

  • Softball
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Soccer

You can enlist a team with friends or join on your own and get paired with a team to meet new people!

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing has grown in popularity across the country for the past decade or so for many reasons—it’s an excellent cardio and full-body workout, it’s more fun than weightlifting or running, and it’s mental exercise as well. One of the ways rock climbing benefits your mental health is it challenges your mind as much as your body.

As you climb to the top, you have to put together your route like a puzzle on the fly as your body clings to the holds. For a mental and physical workout, check out your local rock climbing gym!


For those who want something slower, more calming, and meditative, yoga is an excellent option. While exercising, yoga followers also practice mental clarity, concentration, and body awareness. Plus, the flexibility and posing exercises relieve pain and physical problems with the back, neck, and head.

If you’re looking for ways to boost your self-esteem and relieve some of the stress pent up in your mind, all these exercises are great options. If you’re not sure where to start, try dabbling in each to see which best fits your physical needs and personality.

Jennifer Dawson

Jennifer Dawson is an experienced freelance writer who specializes in food and nutrition. Working in fitness marketing previously gave her a good feel for the industry and since going freelance she has been able to explore her preferred topic areas such as diet types, nutrition and food. Outside of work, Jen enjoys traveling, swimming and spending time with her young family.

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