Exercising is not only efficient in ensuring physical health, but it can help you overcome mental health symptoms, such as anxiety, and depression.
According to Mayo Clinic, research on depression, anxiety, and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help improve mood and reduce anxiety. Being generally proactive may drive away and depression — prevent them from creeping back in. That’s why you will find some people at the gym “blowing off some steam”.
Five mental health benefits of exercise
1. Help reduce anxiety and depression
When you exercise your body releases endorphins, neuroreceptors that help reduce pain and improve your mood. Endorphins are after all called the “feel good” hormones. Even just moderate exercise throughout the week can improve depression and anxiety, so much so that some doctors recommend trying out an exercise regimen for these conditions before turning to medication, Walden University writes.
2. Better sleep
Research says that exercise improves sleeping patterns and it decreases insomnia and a variety of other sleeping problems, with the same efficiency as that of sleeping pills.
It is reported that a person needs at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise to a difference in the quality of their sleep the same night. It literally doesn’t take long before you start noticing your sleeping patterns improve if you carry on like this.
3. Exercise boosts mental strength
If you exercise regularly your brain literally stops being a sloth — being slow that is. Exercise boosts your memory and thinking skills both directly and indirectly. It acts directly on the body by stimulating physiological changes such as reductions in insulin resistance and inflammation, along with encouraging the production of growth factors — chemicals that affect the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance, survival, and overall health of new brain cells, Harvard Health Publishing says.
4. Decreased stress
Increasing your heart rate can actually reverse stress-induced brain damage by stimulating the production of neurohormones like norepinephrine, which not only improve cognition and mood but improve thinking clouded by stressful events. Exercise also forces the body’s central and sympathetic nervous systems to communicate with one another, improving the body’s overall ability to respond to stress.
5. Improved self-esteem
Obviously, exercising will make you look good, and everyone likes to look good. It makes one feel better about themselves. Perhaps, you had been feeling insecure about your body, and then you start exercising and before you know it, you have reached your body goals. Low self-esteem gets a kick in the butt and body dysmorphia straight to the bin!