Exercise offers more benefits than just improving your physical health. It’s also amazing for your mental health. Here are 7 emotional benefits of exercise.
Mental disorders affect one out of four people throughout the course of their lives. These vary from depression and anxiety to more severe conditions such as schizophrenia. There are treatments for many of these disorders, but exercise may be the most effective cure.
An overwhelming amount of research suggests that exercise is great for both the body and the mind. If you’re suffering from stress or anxiety, exercise may be able to help. Even if you have great mental health, exercise is also an important method to prevent future disorders.
Need another reason to get in motion? Then it’s time to consider the emotional benefits of exercise.
What Are the Emotional Benefits of Exercise?
Even moderate exercise can pay dividends by improving your emotional state. For the best results, you should achieve thirty minutes of exercise five days a week. But you’ll still notice the effects of shorter, consistent workouts.
Instead of a mental exercise, boost your mental well-being with a brisk walk. Get in motion and enjoy these 7 emotional and mental health benefits.
1. Relieve Stress
Although stress has mental components, it’s experienced as physical feedback. As part of your fight or flight response, you suffer from tense muscles, an increased heart rate, and insomnia.
Exercise is an effective way to relieve these physical discomforts. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins that improve and balance your mood. With an improved mental state, this alleviates the triggers causing your body physical distress.
An aching and uncomfortable body can often be its own cause of stress. You’ll relax tense muscles after a solid workout and break the feedback loop.
Still stressed out? Walking is one of several ways to calm down.
2. Manage Anxiety
A variety of studies have discovered that active people are less prone to symptoms of anxiety. Hours after a workout, the mental benefits still provide anxiety relief. This may be because of a dopamine release.
A key symptom of anxiety is a lingering nervousness or worry. But exercise can distract your fretful mind.
Keep moving! By staying active, you’ll be 25% more likely to ward off anxiety over the following five years.
3. Boost Self-Confidence
There’s no denying that much of our self-confidence comes from our physical appearance. Consistent exercise will lead to long-term results such as weight loss, toned muscles, and more. When you look good, you’ll feel good.
Maintaining a consistent exercise routine is an accomplishment in itself. These small feats all contribute to a large boost in self-confidence.
4. Reduce Depression Symptoms
Exercise is just as potent as antidepressant medication. This does not mean that exercise should replace medicine. The two can work together to a greater effect.
The endorphins released during a workout can help you improve your mood, along with serotonin. Many antidepressants rely on improving the levels of serotonin in your brain, and exercise is just another way to get this done.
Keep in mind that the study suggests you need to exercise at least 40 minutes five times a week to get the most out of your workout. The normal recommendation is 30 minutes.
Remember to start slow. If you aren’t currently active, 40 minutes can seem like a long time. You need to prime your body first.
5. Alleviate Insomnia
No matter who you are, you’ve suffered from insomnia at some point in your life. Stress, anxiety, and depression can all cause insomnia. Since steady exercise can reduce these symptoms, a decent workout can help you fall asleep when you get in bed.
You may also struggle to sleep because your body still has the energy to burn. Reduce the excess energy by taking a quick jog around the neighbourhood. As an added bonus, a regular workout is a key part of setting your circadian rhythm.
Note that you should exercise a few hours before bed. A workout is stimulating. The body needs time to cool down before it’s ready to sleep.
6. Enhance Brain Performance
In addition to dopamine and serotonin, exercise releases neurotrophic proteins, which create new connections in the brain. This is one way your brain physically benefits from exercise in the same manner as your muscles.
Additional connections will literally improve the way you think. Do you forget words often? Memorization can help, but don’t skimp on a proper workout routine.
Regular exercise increases the mass of your hippocampus, which is responsible for memory, mood, and learning. Active people have faster, more active brains with more mass. They benefit not only from enhanced brain performance, but they are at lower risk of developing memory-related disorders such as dementia.
7. Control ADHD
Adults with ADHD suffer from a lack of dopamine. Regular exercise is a natural method to increase serotonin and dopamine, which regulate mood and your ability to focus. Most ADHD medications are stimulants that try to boost the presence of these neurotransmitters.
Alongside ADHD medication, moderate exercise is a helpful way to control ADHD. But it is not a replacement. The mental health benefit lasts for a few hours before wearing off.
Improve Your Mental Health With Exercise
Most discussions about exercise revolve around its physical aspects, such as weight loss and better cardiovascular health. But the emotional benefits of exercise are just as important. No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to get started.
Exercise is also an important technique to promote healthy aging. But it’s not the only method. Check out some other ways you can have a healthy body and mind as you grow older.