When people think about exercise, they think about weight loss in some sense. If you’re trying to tone up, lose weight, build endurance, or somehow improve your body in a physical way, usually exercise is the way to go. But there are way more benefits to working out than just the physical health, it’s also beneficial to your mental health.
People who regularly exercise tend to be more energized throughout the day. They sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed. Research has shown that having a regular exercise schedule can have a positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. You don’t have to be a gym rat to reap the benefits of exercise, either. Any moderate amount of daily exercise can drastically improve your mood and make a difference.
Exercise is a fantastic tool to have in your mental health toolbox. Here are five ways working out can benefit your mental health.
1. Increase happy hormones.
Our brains can be stingy with those feel-good hormones. Sometimes we need to coax it out with a quick 20-minute jog, or a 30-minute bike ride. It can be tough to get through, but exercise releases a wave of endorphins, which creates a feeling of happiness and euphoria. Studies have shown that exercise can help relieve some symptoms of depression, which is why doctors recommend scheduling it at least three times a week.
2. Reduce stress.
There is nothing more stress-reducing than going to a gym and punching the hell out of a bag. If you’ve had a rough day at the office, throw on some running shoes and hit the pavement. One of the most common benefits of exercise is how it can relieve your stress. So working up a sweat can benefit both your physical and mental health.
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3. Keep your brain sharp.
Let’s face it, the older we get, the more our brain gets a little fuzzy. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, it just part of being human. Regular exercise can help prevent cognitive decline the older you get. It boosts the chemicals that support and prevent degeneration. Working out may not cure Ahlziemer’s, but it may help fight against developing it. Not only that, but it can help improve your memory too!
4. Boost self-confidence.
When you exercise regularly, you won’t see just a difference in your mental health, but in your physical one too. Soon you’ll build endurance, accomplish physical goals you only dreamt of, and will achieve new things. All of these, plus the added bonus of toning muscle and maybe dropping some pounds, can really boost your self-image and self-esteem. Even if you didn’t set out to build endurance to walk a 5k, it’s just one of the benefits of physical activity.
5. Sleep soundly.
Do you struggle with sleeping? Exercise can definitely help with that. When you participate in physical activity, it heats up the body which actually has a calming effect on the mind. After your body has cooled down hours later, it signals the brain that it’s sleepy time. It also helps regulate your circadian rhythm, that built-in alarm clock that tells our bodies when we feel tired and when we feel alert.
Exercise can be a beneficial tool for you and your mental health. It’s not meant to replace any kind of professional help, but it can aid you when you’re feeling low. Give it a try, and remember that exercise can and should be fun!
Shift Frequency © 2020 – Mental Health Benefits of Working Out