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Five exercises from AAMI, to help maintain mental wellness 

By  AAMI

Our busy lives don’t always make it easy to find time to relax. Between work, family, friends and all the must-dos on our to-do list, making time for exercise doesn’t always happen when we’d like it to. Here at AAMI, we know the importance of keeping up with regular exercise and making it the priority when you need to. Not only does it keep your body fit and healthy (yay for that!), it also helps maintain mental wellness so that you keep that gorgeous smile on your face and are always on top of your game in all walks of life. Why not try to find some spare time this week and try one of our five exercises below…

1) Do cardio

Increasing your heart rate is one of the best ways to help combat stress, and there’s no better way than cardio to get your blood pumping. Walking, running and swimming are some of the most effective exercises as they help produce endorphins, a natural chemical in the brain that makes you feel good. As an added benefit, move your workout to the great outdoors – being outside amongst nature can help lower your stress hormones even more. 

2) Breathe

Deep focused breathing can help decrease your heart rate and regulate mood, which can help calm anxiety or stress levels. You could try pranayama, which involves deep inhalation and exhalation, alternating your breaths through each nostril. Or try progressive mood relaxation exercises, which teach participants to focus on tensing and releasing specific muscles in time with your breath. Need a little more guidance? The University of Western Sydney provides a series of relaxation recordings to help you get into the zone.

3) Try meditation

Nowadays meditation is becoming more mainstream with some schools starting to introduce it into the day. For kids and adults alike, our world is often non-stop and we’re always contactable – on our phones, email and social media – it’s hard to find time to be still. Taking time to practice meditation can help calm your mind and provide a peacefulness that helps maintain mental wellness. Meditation should bring your heart rate down so your body and mind can completely relax. Find a quiet space to start your practice and set aside a bit of time each day dedicated to meditation. If you have trouble getting started, there are a number of apps that can help such as Smiling Mind, Headspace and Buddhify.

4) Lift weights

Strength training isn’t just good for building muscle – it’s great for mental wellness too. Adding low- to moderate-level resistance training to your regular weekly workout has been shown to help reduce stress levels. Try adding two to three light weight workouts to your routine each week.

5) Take classes

Group classes are another great way to achieve mental wellness. Not only do you get the tried-and-tested aerobic exercise, which is great for your mental wellness, but you also get the opportunity to socialise, which has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels in people of all ages. With specialised gyms and fitness studios cropping up all over the place, you should easily be able to find a yoga, pilates, barre, cross-fit, boxing, or any other type of class that takes your fancy and fits your schedule.

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