Exercise To Improve Mental Health
Everyone knows that exercising does wonders for our physical health and fitness levels. We see people pounding the pavements and hitting the gym every single day. It’s easy to believe these people are fitness buffs because they want to achieve and maintain a fine physique, but many of their reasons go so much deeper than the physical benefits such as cardiovascular health and improved muscular skeletal function.
When we exercise we feel better. Sure, we can claim achieving something good like running 5 miles today is the reason we feel good, but exercising has been proven to do wonders for our mental health. If you’re feeling a little out of sorts, improve your mental health by exercising and reap the benefits.
1. Release Your Intellectual Powerhouse
We all know that person in the office that likes to sneak in a quick workout during a lunch break. It could be a half hour at the gym or they may like to go for a walk. We may think this person is a little crazy. Lunch breaks are supposed to be a time to take a break, right? Look around your office from mid to late afternoon. How many of your co-workers look like they’re about to fall asleep? What you’re seeing is commonly known as the afternoon slump. There are many reasons people experience this slump and much of it stems from sitting in the same position all day, doing the same things. Poor lunch choices are also to blame but the main cause of this brain fog is the lack of activity.
Now look at the lunchtime exercisers. They are most likely looking alert and very productive. That is because the simple act of stepping out of the office and engaging any form of exercise clears the clutter in our brains and allows us to think with increased clarity. So get out of the office during your lunch break. If you do nothing else, walk a little further to get your lunch.
2. Get A Natural Boost Of Happy Hormones
Regular exercise increase the production of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, also known as the happy hormones. When you exercise, these hormones are released into your body and do wonders to alleviate feelings of depression and anxiety. You don’t have to become a verified gym junkie to reap the benefits. For many people, a 30 minute workout of any kind just a few days per week is enough to get a healthy dose of these happy hormones released.
3. Exercise Helps Fight Depression And Anxiety
Regular exercise has been proven be just as effective as antidepressants to help those who suffer from mild to moderate depression and anxiety. The main reason for this is that exercise induces all kinds of changes in the brain the most important one being a sense of tranquility and calm. Regular exercise also promotes brain regeneration or neural growth as well as decreasing inflammation. All of which go a long way in treating depression and anxiety. As an added bonus, exercise is a great way of breaking the cycle of “sitting around and worrying”. When you exercise you find your quiet, calm center that take you away from the negative thoughts that creep into your mind and cause much of the depression and anxiety in the first place.
4. Prevent Degenerative Diseases
The sad fact is, as we get older our brains start to lose some function. We tend to forget things and our minds just aren’t as sharp as they used to be. Then too, is the worry of developing degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Regular exercise can slow down the cognitive decline many elderly experience. Getting old is inevitable, but keeping fit will, at the very least, slow down some of the degenerative problems that come with age.
5. Take It Outside
Working indoors, such as in an office environment, robs us of spending time outdoors. We commute to work in cars or public transport and then spend eight or more hours stuck indoors, only to commute back home again. Often, this routine means we don’t see much of the sun. This lacks of sunshine means we’re missing out on Vitamin D. This crucial vitamin helps boost our immune system and improves the health of our brains and nervous system. Health on the side, who doesn’t feel better after spending some time in the sun? Take your exercise routine outdoors in the park or simply walk around in the sunlight. You’ll feel better and your overall health and wellbeing will improve dramatically.
6. Improve The Quality Of Your Sleep
Feel like a regular couch potato? Finding it hard to sleep? It’s time to get off the couch and go for a walk. Spending too many hours in the evening lying on the couch, watching TV has probably wreaked havoc on your sleep patterns. Too many people watch TV into the early hours of the morning before finally going to bed. When they get to bed, they have trouble falling asleep and wake up feeling tired. Over time, this lack of sleep can lead to feelings of depression and a lack of motivation to do anything. Go for a walk in the evening or simply pull out the yoga mat and do some stretches. Exercising in the evening will regulate your sleeping patterns and when you start to sleep better, you’ll wake up feeling more alert and ready to start your day with a smile.
7. Boost Your Confidence
Most of us could do with a few body shaping exercises, and yes, exercise is great for our physical health and fitness. Exercise also does wonders for our self-confidence. When we exercise with increased regularity we change our perception of body image so that regardless of weight, size or shape, we simply have a more positive image of ourselves.
You don’t need to spend hours at the gym every day to improve your mental health. Start with a few simple changes every day. It could be taking your dog for a walk or riding your bike to get some groceries. Do what works for you and let those positive feelings flow.