Exercise improves our mental health – it can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Therefore, it serves as an effective intervention for the treatment of mild metal health issues. In general, exercise does not only improve psychological but also physiological and immunological functions.
However, for many of us it is difficult to fit in a workout every day. A lack of time in our busy schedule as well as a lack of motivation make us find good excuses to skip the daily exercise and develop a routine. But hey, with today’s technology there is not even a need for a gym membership! Countless streaming services and apps provide instructions and motivation.
And exercise does not necessarily mean jogging or weightlifting. There are many kinds of exercise that can be easily implemented in daily life, for example:
- a swim in the sea
- a walk with your children or pet
- climbing or hiking
- and many more.
Already a little exercise can change how you feel in your body. 10 minutes sound more doable than 30 or even 60 minutes, right? But are 10 minutes of exercise enough per day?
The answer to this question depends on the goal of your exercise – which can range from getting more fit, releasing energy to losing weight. In general, studies have found that only 10 minutes of exercise per day can already improve fatigue, vigour and mood.
Research shows that frequent short exercise periods are much more beneficial than occasional long workout sessions. Get your body moving to release endorphins, the so-called happiness hormones, and your energy level will increase, you will feel more motivated and feelings of fatigue and depression will be reduced.
Where to start?
A mental exercise can be a good start to kick off your routine: Take 10 minutes to sit down and think back to your childhood. What exercise did you love the most? Was it running, jumping, maybe ball sports or swimming? Write down your favourite activities, those you just did without having to convince yourself. Now think of an adult version of those activities you enjoyed so much when you were little. Something you have good memories of will feel more natural and enjoyable. Let your childhood self guide you to figure out what kind of exercise works best for you. You can do this.
10 minutes of exercise per day is enough.
10 minutes per day make 70 minutes per week and 60 hours per year! Seeing it from this perspective, this is a lot of exercise you can choose to do or to miss. Consistency and frequency are key.
Apart from improving your mental health there are some nice side effects of 10 minutes exercise per day:
- building muscle strengths through controlled movements which contribute to your overall health,
- releasing stress and tension that might have been bottled up which clears the head and increases concentration and productivity,
- releasing extra energy which helps you sleep better at night and feel rested enough to get focused through the day.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Taking care of your body by exercising 10 minutes per day goes along with taking care of your mind and mental health.
Franziska Richter is a transcultural counsellor with Willingness Team, offering counselling sessions to individuals and couples. She is particularly interested in trauma, addictions, migration, sexuality, and eating disorders.
Hansen, C. J., Stevens, L. C., & Coast, J. R. (2001). Exercise duration and mood state: How much is enough to feel better? Health Psychology, 20(4), 267–275. https://doi.org/10.1037/0278-618.104.22.1687