Loneliness can be felt at the most unexpected times, even when you are surrounded by people. It is caused by lacking fruitful and rewarding relationships with others and can have a big negative impact on our mental health. Thankfully, being physically active has been shown to significantly alleviate feelings of loneliness.
If you are wondering what you can do to feel less lonely and how exercise can help, here are 5 activities you could try.
Make exercise a regular occurrence in your daily routine
It is as simple as it sounds. Exercising regularly has been proven to boost feel-good hormones like serotonin, consequently boosting our mood and increasing energy levels, thus decreasing feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Whatever exercise you choose to perform, even if it's only a 10 minute routine, the important thing is to enjoy it and not have it feel like a chore that you want to get it over with.
Find a workout partner
From early morning gym sessions to late-night yoga practices, showing up and getting the work done can be a challenge some days – especially when you are feeling like you could use the extra motivation.
Find a friend or sibling who loves working out as much as you do and start exercising together. Not only will that double your fun, but it will also increase your motivation and decrease feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Join a group
Virtual group exercises have boomed over the last couple of years. Today, you have a choice to join a virtual or in-person group workout. Both are great at providing high levels of energy and motivation.
Find a workout community and commit to exercising with them. For example, joining a yoga class will help you bond with other yogis who are showing up for the same reason as you are.
Group exercises will encourage you to work harder, not to mention that they are great for your mental health as they keep loneliness feelings at bay.
Join a team
Getting into a fitness activity that includes a team is a great way to form new connections and combat loneliness. Choose a team sport that you love, be it football, basketball, softball, volleyball or rugby and start practising with a group of people who have the same motivations and aspirations as you do. Being around your team will help you feel well-surrounded and warm.
Go out of the house
Who does not love a cosy afternoon spent in comfortable clothing on the couch with a hot cup of coffee? It can be easy to fall into a cycle of rumination and feel like staying home for prolonged periods of time, which will eventually lead to feeling pretty lonely.
Going out of the house even for just a quick run around the block will help you break that cycle. And who knows? Perhaps you might bump into a neighbour or friend and have a quick chat on the sideway. Every little interaction makes a change in our moods, and leaving our comfort zones is sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves.