How can exercise impact your mental health?

Exercise is more than just for aerobic ability and muscle mass. Yes, exercise will enhance your physical health and physique, help you lose weight, and even add years to your life. However, it is not what motivates the majority of people to remain involved. People who exercise on a regular basis do so because it gives them a tremendous sense of well-being. It’s also a treatment for a variety of common mental health issues. Take a look for yourself.

Depression

Exercising has been shown to be equally effective as antidepressant treatment in treating mild to moderate depression—without the side effects, of course. Running for 15 minutes in a day or walking for an hour decreases the risk of major depression by 26%. In addition to alleviating depressive symptoms, evidence suggests that sticking to an exercise routine will help you avoid relapsing.

It encourages brain changes, such as neural development, decreased inflammation, and new activity patterns that encourage feelings of peace and well-being. It also releases endorphins, which are strong chemicals in your brain that energize you and make you feel healthy. Finally, exercise will act as a diversion, helping you to find some quiet time to break the loop of negative thoughts that fuel depression.

Anxiety

Exercise is a safe and effective natural anti-anxiety treatment. It reduces anxiety and stress, and improves overall well-being by releasing endorphins. By incorporating a mindfulness component—really concentrating on your body and how it feels when you exercise—you will not only strengthen your physical health quicker, but you will also be able to break the cycle of endless worries running through your head.

Stress

If you are stressed your muscles can be tight, especially in your face, neck, and shoulders, causing back pain or neck pain as well as painful headaches. You may experience chest tightness, a racing heart, or muscle cramps. Insomnia, heartburn, stomachache, diarrhea, or excessive urination are also possible side effects. All of these physical effects can cause anxiety and pain, which can lead to even more tension, creating a vicious loop between your mind and body.

Exercising is a good way to break the loop. Physical exercise, in addition to releasing endorphins in the brain, helps to relax muscles and reduce stress in the body.

ADHD

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to alleviate ADHD symptoms and improve focus, motivation, memory, and mood. Physical exercise immediately increases dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels in the brain, all of which influence concentration and attention. Exercise functions similarly to ADHD drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall.

PTSD and Trauma

Concentrating on the body and how it feels when exercising will potentially help the nervous system become “unstuck” and begin to move past the immobilization stress response that characterizes PTSD or trauma. Cross-movement exercises that engage both arms and legs, such as walking (especially in sand), running, swimming, weight lifting, or dancing, are among your best options.

Hiking, sailing, mountain biking, rock climbing, white-water rafting, and skiing (downhill and cross-country) have also been shown to alleviate PTSD symptoms.

Other benefits

Even if you don’t have a mental health problem, daily physical exercise will help improve your attitude, outlook, and mental well-being. Some of these effects are listed below.

Improved memory and thought: Endorphins, which make you feel better, often help you focus and stay mentally sharp for tasks at hand. Exercise also promotes the formation of new brain cells and aids in the prevention of age-related decline.

Increased self-esteem: Regular physical activity is an investment in the mind, body, and soul. When it becomes a habit, it can boost your self-esteem and make you feel strong and powerful. You’ll feel better about your appearance and a sense of accomplishment if you meet even small exercise goals.

Improved sleep: Also brief bursts of exercise in the morning or afternoon will aid in the regulation of your sleep patterns. If you choose to exercise at night, calming exercises like yoga or gentle stretching will aid in sleep.

Greater tenacity: When confronted with mental or emotional difficulties in life, exercise will help you develop strength and cope in a healthier way, rather than turning to alcohol, narcotics, or other unhealthy habits that only make the symptoms worse.

Conclusion

Exercising everyday not only boosts physical health but also boosts mental health. It has been proven to alleviate symptoms of diseases recognized in the DSM manual like depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD and so on. Even if you don’t have a diseases you can still benefit from exercise in terms of sharper memory and focus, improved sleep and self-esteem. And the best part? It has no side-effects! You can choose from endless options like HIIT, circuit training, cardio and strength training at home.

Do not hesitate to reach out to us for guidance or if you are looking for an online personal trainer.

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