Movement is Medicine: Simple At-Home Exercises to Boost Mental Health

Our therapists often get questions about simple to-do exercises at home, independently, or with the help of free online resources. And in the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to forget the importance of taking care of movement and our mental health. While medication and therapy are commonly discussed remedies, there’s another powerful tool that often goes overlooked: movement. Engaging in regular physical activity can have profound effects on our mental well-being, and the best part is, that you don’t need a gym membership or fancy equipment to get started. Here are some simple at-home exercises that can help uplift your mood and improve your mental health.

1. Stretching

Stretching is a gentle way to start incorporating movement into your daily routine. It helps release muscle tension, improve flexibility, and increase blood flow, all of which contribute to a better mood. Try these simple stretches:

  • Child’s Pose: This yoga pose is great for relaxation. Kneel on the floor, sit back on your heels, and stretch your arms forward, lowering your forehead to the ground.
  • Neck Stretches: Slowly tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear towards your shoulder, and hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
  • Cat-Cow Stretch: Get on all fours, arch your back like a cat (Cat Pose), then dip your spine and lift your head and tailbone (Cow Pose). Repeat several times.

2. Walking

Walking is one of the simplest and most effective forms of exercise. It’s accessible to most people and can be done indoors or outdoors. Even a short 10-15 minute walk around your home or neighborhood can help clear your mind, reduce stress, and improve your mood. If you’re indoors, try walking up and down the stairs or around your living room.

3. Dancing

Put on your favourite music and dance like nobody’s watching! Dancing is a fun way to get your body moving and release endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Whether it’s a structured dance workout or just freestyle dancing in your living room, moving to the rhythm can significantly boost your mental health.

4. Yoga

Yoga combines physical movement, breath control, and meditation, making it a powerful tool for enhancing mental well-being. Many online platforms offer free yoga classes suitable for all levels. Try incorporating a 20-30-minute yoga session into your routine to help reduce anxiety, improve focus, and promote relaxation.

5. Strength Training

You don’t need a lot of equipment to start strength training at home. Bodyweight exercises like push-ups, squats, lunges, and planks can be very effective. Strength training helps build physical strength, but it also has mental health benefits, such as reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety and improving self-esteem.

6. Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a form of martial arts that involves slow, deliberate movements and deep breathing. It’s often described as “meditation in motion.” Practicing Tai Chi can help reduce stress, improve balance, and enhance overall mental clarity. Look for beginner Tai Chi videos online to get started.

7. Gardening

While not a traditional form of exercise, gardening involves a lot of movement, such as bending, digging, and lifting. It’s a wonderful way to get some fresh air and sunlight, both of which are beneficial for mental health. Plus, nurturing plants can be a very grounding and rewarding activity.


Incorporating movement into your daily routine doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Simple activities like stretching, walking, dancing, yoga, strength training, Tai Chi, and even gardening can have substantial benefits for your mental health. Start small, find what you enjoy, and make it a regular part of your life. Remember, movement is medicine – let it be your ally in maintaining a healthy mind and body.

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