Mental health benefits of exercise: From less stress to a boost in self-esteem, exercise is as great for your brain as it is for your body.
The Psychological Benefits of Exercise
Most of us know the many physical benefits of exercise: weight control, lower blood pressure and increased energy, just to name a few. But what about the psychological benefits of exercise?
From easing symptoms of depression and anxiety to keeping your memory sharp and, there’s no shortage of mental benefits of exercise. Whether you need motivation to get to the gym or to just take a brisk walk, the five psychological benefits of physical activity below will have you tying up your shoelaces and heading out the door.
- It lowers your Stress Levels
Increasing your heart rate can actually reverse stress-induced brain damage by stimulating the production of ‘neurohormones’ which improve your mood and thinking clouded by stressful events. Exercise also forces the body’s nervous systems to communicate with one another, improving the body’s overall ability to respond to stress.
- Increases in Confidence
From improving endurance to losing weight and increasing muscle tone, there’s no shortage of physical achievements that come about from regular exercise. All those achievements can all add up to a whopping boost of self-esteem—and the confidence that comes with it.
- Better Sleep
If you have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, exercise can help with that, too! Physical activity increases body temperature, which can have calming effects on the mind, leading to less ‘sheep counting’ and more shuteye.
Exercise also helps regulate your bodies’ built-in alarm clock that controls when we feel tired and when we feel alert.
- A Natural Energy Source
While starting an exercise routine can feel energy-sapping, over time, exercise becomes a natural way to improve energy levels. This fights against the draining effects that mental health problems can cause and motivates us to get out of bed and embrace the day.
- You’ll Achieve your Goals
Exercise is great for giving us goals to aim for, to one day turn that kilometre-long jog into a mile-long one and onward. Having something that helps you to push ourselves, to achieve your goals gives you feelings of accomplishment and self-worth, which in turn makes you feel happier about our lives in general.
There you have it! Forming a positive relationship between exercise and mental health is one of many helpful techniques to improve your overall mood and outlook on life.
Exercise is often seriously underappreciated in its ability to make us feel better not just physically but mentally as well, and hopefully this insight into why it makes such a sizeable difference to our wellbeing will encourage you to introduce more activities into your day-to-day life.
What have you taken from this blog? We’d love to hear what you think.