We all know well the benefits exercise has on the body, but there is now more evidence than ever to support the effectiveness of exercise on mental health. No matter the age or fitness level, regular exercise can help alleviate and improve feelings of depression, anxiety, stress and even ADHD. It also boosts the mood, improves sleep and helps with memory retention. Read on to find out more about how exercise can benefit your mental well-being.
It is an effective “medicine” to mental health challenges
People who exercise regularly can agree that while it improves your physique and add years to your life, it more importantly gives them an enormous sense of positivity about themselves and their lives. This goes hand in hand with studies claiming that exercise is a depression fighter because of its ability to reduce inflammation, promote neural growth and release mood-boosting endorphins. It also acts as a distraction for those who tend to over think and find themselves in negative thought patterns. In addition to this, exercise is known to be a powerful remedy for those struggling with anxiety as it relieves tension and stress and, because of the element of mindfulness some exercises incorporate, can bring a sense of ease and control.
It reduces stress and promotes feelings of calmness
Stress can wreak havoc on the mind and body; not only can it cause muscles to tense up and lead to body pains and aches, it traps people into a negative thought cycle that is difficult to break out of. Exercise is an effective way to alleviate worry, relaxing the muscles in your body, releasing feel good endorphins and consequently, promoting a feeling of calmness. Effectively, exercising is a powerful way to release all the built-up tensions and stresses trapped in the body and mind.
It improves your self-esteem
Exercise is an investment into yourself; that is why making it a regular habit can boost levels of self- confidence. When you exercise, you feel strong which leads to you being strong, and this cycle will only help foster a sense of self-worth. It can also lead to feelings of satisfaction about your personal appearance which can help you act with confidence in other areas of your life. Exercise is a powerful act of self-love that can make you feel more positive about yourself, your life and what you can achieve. However, for those struggling with more severe mental health issues, talking to a therapist on platforms like BetterHelp can be invaluable, particularly when coupled with self-care.
It sharpens the brain
Not only do endorphins help boost your mood, it can also sharpen memory and help you concentrate on what needs to get done that day. Exercise releases these endorphins, stimulates the growth of new brain cells and slows down the age-related declination and degeneration of the brain, evident in such diseases as Alzheimer’s. Working out can help prevent other cognitive decline, improve overall brain performance and supports the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory and learning.
It increases overall life satisfaction
Exercise, particularly when it is done in the great outdoors with sunshine and fresh air, can bring a sense of happiness, calm and even gratitude about one’s life. Moving your body often has a way of inducing thankfulness for your health and the ability to do these activities you enjoy doing; something we can easily take for granted. Additionally, because of the way exercise increases productivity, stimulates creativity and empowers us to be our best selves, it can help improve overall quality and outlook on life.
For many people, exercise is like an anti-depressant, anxiety and stress fighter, beauty elixir and sleeping pill all rolled into one. It has many benefits for mental health, and it cannot be repeated enough how effective exercise can be for those struggling with mild to moderate mental health illnesses. You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to experience the benefits of exercise on the mind and body; by doing things you enjoy and making it social, you can keep mentally healthy and positive without the buckets of sweat.