Exercise is part of a healthy, balanced life.
- Getting in shape.
- Physical health.
Pretty simple stuff, right?
Yet some of the benefits of exercise are not so obvious; impacting our lives in ways, we cannot fully recognize.
Feeling blue? Take a look at some of the ways that exercise is an investment into a healthy mind.
Because you know what? Physical exercise and mental health is two sides of the same coin…
OK. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty and take a look at 9 of the fantastic effects working out will have on your psychical health:
9 Positive Effects Exercise Bring to Your Brain
The jury’s out; exercise is one of the best remedies for mild to moderate cases of depression.
While anti-depressant medications have varying degrees of success in these cases, no one disputes the ability of exercise to combat depression; studies have shown them to be equally effective.
“Research has shown that exercise is an effective but often underused treatment for mild to moderate depression.”
Reference: webmd.com – Exercise and Depression
Moderate-intensity exercise has been clinically proven to release endorphins into the brain, elevating mood, and creating feelings of euphoria.
As well as being chemically effective, exercise can treat depression by disrupting negative thought cycles. This provides relief to sufferers; encouraging more positive thought patterns.
Here’s a couple of different cardio workouts you can try out to welcome those endorphins to your life.
Build Self Confidence
Which do you feel better after?
A movie marathon or a workout?
Exercise is a big fan of self-worth and general confidence. Not just on a superficial level- fitness can alter your perception of yourself; boosting how you perceive your own attractiveness.
Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal.
Reference: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Exercise for Mental Health
Nature, Enter me
Let’s face it; nature’s the best. Getting outside naturally elevates your mood as you soak up Vitamin D- one of mother Earth’s many cures for the blues.
If you’ve only been working out at the gym, get outdoors, and boost your mood the natural way. Running, walking, hiking, and cycling are perfect ways to do this.
Stay Sharp as a Razor
We spend our lives caring for our bodies, but what about our minds? Our mental sharpness goes downhill as we age, with degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s taking a huge toll on our mental health.
It turns out you can kill two birds with one stone: exercise is crucial to retaining a fully functional mind.
“Did you know that regular physical exercise can reduce your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to a stunning 50%?”
Reference: alzheimersprevention.org – EXERCISE & BRAIN AEROBICS
It achieves this by elevating chemical levels in the brain, particularly those that support learning and memory. The critical time window here is between your mid-20s and mid-40s; having a solid fitness program during these ages is an investment into the future you.
Wage War on Anxiety
As one of the most common mental health issues worldwide, anxiety takes a massive toll on our general well being and quality of life.
We’ve all heard about exercise’s ability to fight stress, but the benefits also extend to anxiety and many related disorders.
Scientific evidence has highlighted the link between exercise and reduced levels of anxiety. Multiple studies have found that physically active people are at a lower risk of developing anxiety-related disorders than those with sedentary lifestyles.
Along with the treatment of underlying mental issues, exercise can boost your brainpower. Memory and cognition are improved by the increased oxygen flow to the brain promoted by exercise.
There’s a little catch though: these benefits only apply to aerobic exercise. If you’re feeling a little slow on the uptake, you might want to put down the dumbbells and hit the track!
We all know that sitting at a desk all day doesn’t encourage productivity.
That’s why there’s been a global revolution even in the corporate world; more and more companies take their employee’s physical well-being more seriously, offering free gym memberships, yoga classes, and more.
They recognize the fact that exercise improves productivity, so they will see returns on their investment, with fitter, healthier employees contributing more than their sedentary colleagues.
The benefits of mindfulness have been pushed into the global spotlight, hailed for improving the feeling of well-being, concentration, relaxation, and more.
The concentration required during exercise is in itself a form of meditation.
This will help pull you away from the worries and troubles in your life and building a more mindful existence.
Whether its alcohol, nicotine or something heavier, there is a good chance that exercise can help you recover faster.
Addiction leaves your brain dependent on the endorphins that your chosen drug releases. During recovery, exercise can make up for this chemical imbalance via the endorphins released during physical activity.
Exercise is a natural means of correcting your brain chemistry; along with all the other benefits above that will aid your recovery.
This is How Exercise Makes You Happy
Final Words: Physical Exercise and Mental Health go Hand-in-Hand
When it comes to maintaining your mental health, it can be hard to know what’s wrong and right- but one universal truth is that physical exercise and mental health go hand-in-hand.
Relieving stress, treating addiction, depression, anxiety, and building self-confidence are but a few of the long list of benefits that exercise brings.
Even people with mental illnesses can benefit from physical activity!
Trust that exercise is a proven recipe for building both a healthy mind and body.
When you are ready to conquer the world and welcome some exercise to your life -check out my MASSIVE guide to at-home cardio fitness for loads of tips and inspiration!