There is no doubt that exercise is fundamentally vital for the body. However, only a few people know that exercise can help to improve mental health and well-being. Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and memory changes can be enhanced through a healthy lifestyle like exercise.
Regular exercise can have a significant positive effect on anxiety, depression, ADHD, etc. It can also improve memory, relieve stress, boost your overall mood, and improve sleep. The following are ways exercise can help in improving your mental health.
- Exercise helps with depression
Research shows that exercise can help to manage mild and moderate depression just as effectively as antidepressant medications, of course, without the side effects. Example of one a study to confirm this was recently done by the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health. The study found that taking a walk for an hour or running for 15 minutes can reduce the risk of major depression by 26 percent. Apart from relieving depression symptoms, studies show that maintain a regular exercise routine can prevent relapse.
There are many reasons why exercise can help to fight depression. First, it encourages changes in the brain, including reduced inflammation, neural growth, and activity routines that promote calmness. Exercise releases endorphins that are responsible for energizing your spirits or making you feel good. Exercise can also allow you to distract yourself, hence find time to break out of the normal routine of negative thoughts that can increase the chance of depression.
- Exercise reduces stress
When somebody is stressed, the muscles tend to tense, especially the neck, face, and shoulders, causing painful headaches, back or neck pain. There may also be a feeling of tightness in the chest, muscle cramps, or a pounding pulse. When you are stressed, you may also find it hard to sleep, or experience problems such as frequent urination, stomachache, diarrhea, or heartburn. Worrying about all these physical symptoms can make you feel even more stressed, hence develop a terrible cycle between your mind and body.
Exercising is one of the effective ways you can break this cycle. Physical activity can help you relax the muscles and relieve tension in your body. The body and the mind are closely related, so when the body feels better, the mind feels better as well.
- It reduces anxiety
Anxiety is one of the most common psychiatric illnesses that affect U.S adults. This has made many people seek mental healthcare services in various states. One of the most effective and natural ways to treat anxiety is through exercise. Exercise alleviates tension and stress, promotes well-being through the release of endorphins, and boosts mental and physical energy.
You can take note of the tempo of your breathing or the feeling of your feet hitting the ground. These mindfulness elements make you concentrate more on your body and how it feels when you are exercising can improve your physical condition quickly or interrupt the flow of constant negative thoughts that run through your head.
- Boosts self-confidence
Exercising can significantly increase your confidence. People who exercise regularly can attest to this. The explanation is backed by several studies. One particular study suggests that self-confidence increase become even high when you exercise outdoors. Moreover, the benefits of regular exercise such as weight loss and increased muscle tone can boost your self-esteem, and you will enjoy the benefits that come with it.
- Improves sleep
If you have insomnia, regular exercise can help you get quality sleep. Exercise can increase your body temperature, which can have calming effects on the mind, hence more sleep. Exercising in the morning or afternoon for about 30 minutes can help to regulate your sleep patterns. You can do yoga or gentle stretching for improved sleep.
- It sharpens your brain
When you feel stuck at work, or you find it hard to make a decision, you may try exercising. Several studies show that exercise can improve brain function instantly, and the positive results can make a significant difference in the end. According to Harvard Medical School Study, if you want help with decision making, planning, or learning a new thing, you should make exercise your top priority.