When we think of exercise, often what comes to mind is staying in shape, losing weight, building muscle, etc. But did you know that exercise not only benefits the body but the mind as well? Studies have shown that taking time to exercise, regardless of your age or fitness level, can have some great benefits for your mental health. What exactly are the mental health benefits you can reap from exercising? Read on to find out!
A Boost in Your Mood
One of your body’s responses to exercise is to release endorphins, chemicals produced by the nervous system that create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Because of this, exercise can be a helpful tool to boost your mood and may even be able to help if you’re feeling down or depressed. Exercise can also serve as a distraction to break out of a cycle of negative thoughts and energize your spirit.
Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Exercise is a natural and effective way to reduce stress and anxiety. Stress often causes your muscles to tense up, especially in your face, neck, and shoulders. But physical activity can help to relax your muscles and relieve tension in the body. Since your body and mind are closely linked, if your body feels better, your mind does too. Exercise also helps your mind focus, interrupting the flow of worries running through your head when you’re anxious.
There’s a reason why completing a workout makes you feel like a true champ. You’ve done something great for your health! Exercise can help elevate your perception of your own shape, fitness, and attractiveness. And if you have weight loss in mind, taking a step closer to those goals can be a real confidence booster. Exercise is a great way to love yourself by taking care of yourself.
A Sharper Mind
Exercise doesn’t just make you feel good; those endorphins that boost your mood also help you to concentrate and sharpen your mind. Some studies have shown that exercise can help to create new brain cells as well as increase levels of certain brain-derived proteins, both of which can improve your overall brain performance. Physical activity can also boost your memory and learning abilities.
Better Sleep and Relaxation
Exercise can improve your sleep in a variety of ways. Since it reduces stress and requires your body to use energy, you may feel more relaxed, letting you fall asleep faster and improving sleep quality. Exercise can also help reset your sleep cycle by raising your body temperature and then dropping it to trigger sleepiness a few hours later. Note that this benefit varies depending on what works for you! If exercising too late in the evening energizes you too much, you might need to exercise earlier in the day to get any sleep benefits.
Remember that any kind of physical activity, whether walking through the park or a high-intensity workout, can be beneficial to the health of your body and mind. So, if you haven’t already, start incorporating some exercise into your weekly routine. We know you’ll be happy with the results.