Climbing stairs every day is good for your mental health and wellbeing

Climbing stairs every day is good for your mental health and wellbeing
Climbing stairs every day may help you feel awake and full of energy, which in turn enhances your well-being. ©Shutterstock

Strong restrictions of public life and social contacts due to the pandemic may adversely affect your physical and mental well-being. Researchers say climbing stairs more often may help you feel better.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : November 30, 2020 10:01 AM IST

It is a well-known fact that exercise helps keep the body strong and healthy as well as improve mental health by reducing anxiety, depression and boosting self-esteem. Even if you don't have time to exercise, make sure you climb stairs every day. Because a new study has revealed that even everyday activities such as climbing stairs or simply walking to the neighbourhood store can significantly enhance your physical well-being and mental health during the pandemic times, particularly in people susceptible to psychiatric disorders.

Climbing stairs every day may help feel awake and full of energy, which in turn enhances our well-being, wrote the authors of the study paper published in the journal Science Advances.

The researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Central Institute of Mental Health (CIMH) in Germany have also identified the brain regions which play a central role in this process.

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They found that the 'subgenual cingulate cortex', a section of the cerebral cortex, is important for the interaction between everyday activity and effective well-being. This is the region where emotions and resistance to psychiatric disorders are regulated.

People with a smaller volume of gray brain matter in this region and a higher risk of psychiatric disorders felt lesser full of energy when they were physically inactive. After everyday activity, however, these persons felt even more filled with energy than persons with a larger brain volume.

The results suggest that physical activity in everyday life is beneficial to well-being, particularly in persons susceptible to psychiatric disorders, the authors said.

Tips for good mental health

In addition to climbing stairs, there are plenty of things you can do to keep yourself mentally healthy. Here are some tips that can help you stay in good mental health:

Get plenty of sleep

Getting adequate sleep is very important for your physical as well as mental health. Sleep helps to regulate the chemicals in our brain that are important in managing our moods and emotions. Lack of sleep can make us feel depressed or anxious.

Eat a balanced diet

A well-balanced diet is as important to mental health as it is to physical health. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables along with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, to boost your mental health. Dark green leafy, nuts, seeds and legumes are excellent brain foods. If you're stressed or anxious person, limit or cut out caffeine as this can make you feel more jittery and anxious.

Avoid alcohol, cigarette and drugs

Excessive alcohol consumption for prolonged periods can cause deficiency of thiamine, which is important for brain function. Thiamine deficiency can lead to severe memory problems, motor (coordination) problems, confusion and eye problems. Cigarettes and drugs can often leave you in withdrawal, making you feel low, irritable and anxious. Drug use can also lead to more severe effects like paranoia, delusions and even mental disorders like schizophrenia.

Get daily dose of sunlight

Sunlight is a great source of vitamin D, which is very essential for your bodies and brains. Vitamin D helps stimulate the release of chemicals which improve your mood, like endorphins and serotonin. Experts recommend staying in the sun for 30 minutes to two hours a day every day. However, make sure you keep your skin and eyes safe. Some people become depressed during the winter because of not getting enough sunlight - this condition is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

With inputs from IANS

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