Mental Health Benefits of Intentional Movement

Did you know that May is National Mental Health Awareness Month? After a year like 2020, we all need a little TLC and mental health check in. This looks and feels different for everyone, and there isn’t one right or wrong way to take care of your mental health.

Movement is Healing

In the Pilates community, you may hear us talk about a fundamental pillar – healing through movement – or any similar saying to that effect. This stems from a popular quote from Joseph Pilates, “Change happens through movement and movement heals.” Not only do I firmly believe this, I’ve seen the incredible advantages (from Pilates and intentional movement in general) transform clients and my own body over the pst two decades. While working out is meant to strengthen the body or rehabilitate you physically, I believe it can provide some truly life-changing mental health benefits as well.

When we move the body consciously, our movements relieve stress and get out stored energy which may be contributing to anxiety or even negative emotions. In fact, exercise is a great mood stabilizer. Studies in 2017 showed 1 in 5 adults in America live with mental illness (MHA). A Science Daily study in 2018 shared those who exercise regularly saw 43% less “poor mental health” related days monthly. The idea that even adding a daily walk to your routine could reform your way of life physically and mentally is amazing.

While it may be silly to state or simple, as a reminder, exercise and movement:

Reduce stress, anxiety, and both short-term & long-term bouts of depression
Aid better and more restful sleep
Improve health through enhanced immunity, decreased blood pressure, weight management, more level heart rate
Strengthen the body and can increase overall mobility + flexibility
Enhance mood

Move for You

I recently read “motion is lotion” from marathoner and wellness advocate, Crystal Hadnott. I love this like how many say movement is medicine! Adding in a few days or more of exercise weekly, maybe even some active rest days, can change the course of your life. Your body and brain will thank you.

And remember, do what is best for you. It’s okay to spend a relaxing day on the couch watching tv, reading a book, taking a nap. While your neighbor may prefer playing outside with the kids, hiking, or spending time in the garden. Your happiness is also important, and productivity doesn’t always take into account our mental health. Find movement in a way that you love!

Visit Marathon for Your Next Workout

New to Pilates or just getting into an exercise routine? At Marathon, we offer many different style classes and wellness services:
  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Physical Therapy & Pelvic Health
  • *New!* Meditation

Grab a pack of classes and spring into wellness with us! A group class may be the perfect way for you to find some guided and intentional movement in your day.

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