• Mary

The impact of exercise and nutrition on your mental well-being.

Updated: Jun 30

The Influence of Diet and Exercise On Our Mental Well-Being, A Closer Look

Eat well and exercise, this is what we normally read when we research for ways to stay healthy, both physically, mentally and emotionally. But how true is this claim? Could it really be true that the capacity of the brain to achieve a healthy mental state be achieved through diet and exercise? Let’s try to review how diet, exercise and living a healthy way of life, or lifestyle, can promote positive adaptation to modulate our brain’s function.

As we go through alienation that the current pandemic called COVID-19 has brought upon us all, the lockdown, the loss of jobs, the isolation and the lack of human touch and interaction, has indeed bred a whole new problem for most who rely heavily on physical movement or activities to stay healthy and well. Some handle isolation a lot better than others, and it’s totally alright to feel like we need to reach out for help when isolation is just way too much to bear. Online mental health support is available and upon search, there are quite a few who offer this type of service.

Lifestyle modification, diet and exercise have grown increasingly popular as months go by wherein people’s lives are abruptly altered due to the changes brought about by a pandemic that has placed the majority of us in home isolation. However, staying home, for some, has brought about struggles on how to stay healthy, especially for those who are accustomed to running or riding their bikes around the neighbourhood or in the public park, walking their dogs for a short while of tranquillity, peace and a breath of fresh air. Some are forced to exercise at home and some have just totally lost their will to exercise and have gained unwanted weight which may affect one’s self-esteem or self-confidence.

Diet and Exercise During Isolation

According to research and studies, regular exercise may have a huge and profound effect on a person’s mental health well-being and may help in handling episodes of depression, anxiousness, lower levels of stress, may improve memory, promotes better sleeping patterns and improve a person’s mood altogether. Take ones mood for example, psychologists may say group exercises force social interaction and provide a sense of purpose and goals which can then be said to help self-esteem and overall outlook.

However, too much of anything is not healthy, either. If we exercise too much, it may lead to injuries and exhaustion. Finding a happy middle is the key to promoting good mental health whilst keeping in shape and feeling good and better about ourselves.

Workout Regime: Exercising at Home

Just to make it clear, our bedrooms, or living rooms, are not the best motivator when it comes to creating a conducive environment for a good fitness regimen simply because there are a lot of distracting factors such as the children, the television and the bed that invites us to just lay and roll all day. Coming up with a good home workout is half the battle.

  • Core Home Workout Regimen

  1. Sit-ups - aim for 20 to begin and work your way up to 50 repetitions. Note that tucking your feet under a couch, chair or table may decrease the stress needed to lift yourself up, therefore lessening the muscle contraction needed to deeply work your abdominals.

  2. Crunches - If sit-ups are just too tough for you, go for crunches. Aim for three sets of 20.

  3. Bicycles - Lie flat on your back with your feet up in the air, knees bent. Place your two hands behind the nape of your neck and rest. Begin pumping your legs alternatively in the air for a minute, rest and then do another minute. Aim to do this for 10 minutes for a vigorous cardio and core muscle workout.

  4. Planks - This may just be the best toning technique there is. Hands down, rest elbows and toes firmly against the wall and hold your back, whole body and legs straight. Hold this position for a minute.

  • Cardio Home Workout Moves

  1. Jumping Jacks - This will definitely get your heart rate pumping.

  2. Burpees - From a plank position, jump with both your hands up on the air.

  • Lower Body Home Workout Routine

  1. Squats - Make sure your back is straight and then drop yourself to a sitting position and repeat 10 times and do 2 sets.

  2. High Knees - Jog in place for 10 minutes but with your knees thrown up in the air as high as you can.

  • Upper Body Home Routine

  1. Push-ups - If you are a beginner, it is totally acceptable to bear weight on your knees as opposed to your toes while you have your hands flat on the floor while you push yourself up. This tones the chest, arms and the triceps.

  2. Dips - Sit on a sturdy chair and then place the palm of your hands at the edge of the seat. Push your buttocks out until it is suspended in the air and then bend elbows slightly as you drop your hips towards the floor. Do 10 repetitions and for 2 sets.

In closing, there are plenty of ways to handle isolation, but at the end, it is for us to decide if we wish to seek help so that we can feel better. Talking to experts who specializes in the field of psychology, for counselling, or psychiatry, if medication is required, can truly help ease anxiety and depression, all the more if matched with a healthy lifestyle as well as exercise to stimulate blood circulation throughout our body, thus reducing stress.

Aside from committing to a stay home policy due to the COVID19 pandemic should not be a hindrance for any of us who wish to get help. There are bulk-billed online telehealth services offered and all we have to do is to reach out for help. If isolation is just way too much to bear, then do not bear it alone. Online mental health support is available and upon search, there are quite a few who offer this type of service.

The reference we used for the exercises mentioned above:



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This is not an emergency service. Same day consults are not available. If you are in distress please contact your nearest emergency department, your local area mental health service triage or dial "000".  

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