In school, we’re taught the many benefits of exercise such as; weight loss, reduced risk of diabetes and increased stamina. However, the mental health benefits were rarely, if not ever spoken about! Here are just a few of the many benefits exercise has to your mental health:
Reduces Depression & Anxiety
Doing any kind of physical activity whether it be cardio, team sports or, working out at the gym gives you an endorphins boost which gives you that mood boost you always need! This has been scientifically proven and doctors even recommend moderate daily exercise such as short walks outdoors before turning to medication to help with depression and anxiety.
Reducing stress is essential for leading a happy life. Alongside endorphins helping reduce stress, increasing your heart rate is proven to reverse stress induced brain damage by creating neurohormones. This not only improves your mood but also helps with clearer thinking. Another stress linked benefit is that exercise also makes your body’s central and sympathetic nervous systems cooperate with one another improving your ability to respond to stressful events or circumstances.
Increased confidence and self esteem
Linking to one of the physical benefits of weight loss, regular exercise can help improve your confidence and self esteem. Regular exercise such as weight lifting and cardio can help lose weight, increase cardio and better muscle tone. You may start exercise to help with your mental health but you’ll soon look better and feel more confident in your body which means treating yourself to clothes you may not have even looked at before!
Improved sleep pattern
Not having a regular sleeping pattern can really take its toll on your mental health. You can feel tired and overwhelmed by any task that comes your way. Exercise can help with your sleeping pattern as working out increases your body temperature, this can help calm your mind and help you ease into a deep sleep. Having an exercise routine each day or a weekly routine can also link to helping your circadian rhythm (your bodies’ built in alarm clock) so that you’re up and ready for your day, and ready to go to bed at about the same time each day. However, it is not recommended to exercise close to when you plan on going to sleep so an early morning workout routine is always best.
Not only does regular exercise help improve your mental health, it’s also proven that it can help with building intelligence and strengthening your memory. Studies have shown that exercise aids the creation of new brain cells (neurogenesis) which increases your overall brain performance. Alongside intelligence, exercise also prevents memory loss and cognitive decline. This is because regular exercise works out your muscles and the part of your brain that is responsible for learning and memory. Similarly, physical activities can also boost creativity, which is why it's always recommended to take regular breaks from work for fresh air and exercise.
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