You are probably already aware that exercise is a good thing for the body, but did you know that it can also help improve mood, your sleep and help you overcome depression, anxiety, stress and more?
The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
Exercise is not just about your physical capabilities or the size of your muscles. Sure, those things are nice and exercise can certainly contribute to your physical health and physique, and even add on years to your life, but this is not what motivates many people to continue to stay active.
Those who choose to exercise regularly tend to do it because it gives them a better sense of well-being. They feel better and more energized throughout the day, helps them sleep better at night, have a sharper memory, and feel much more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. It is also a powerful medicine for those who suffer from common mental health issues.
Undergoing regular exercise can have a hugely positive impact on depression, anxiety and ADHD. It can also relieve stress, improve memory, help you sleep better, and helps lift your overall mood. And you don’t need to be a fitness fanatic to enjoy these benefits. Research shows that even moderate amounts of exercise each day can make a big difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you could learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to help deal with your mental health issues, improve your outlook on your life, get more energy and more out of life.
Exercise and Depression
Studies show exercise can help treat mild to moderate depression, and it is an effective antidepressant medication, minus the nasty side effects. For example, one study has shown that running for 15 minutes or walking for an hour will reduce the risk of major depression by 26 percent. Plus, research shows that maintaining an exercise schedule can help prevent a relapse.
Exercise can be a powerful fighter of depression for many different reasons. First, it promotes all types of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote senses of calm and well-being. It also helps release endorphins, which are powerful chemicals in the brain that energize your spirits and can help make you feel good. Exercise also serves as a distraction, which can allow you to find some time for yourself to break out of negative thoughts that feed into depression.
Exercise and Anxiety
Exercise is a natural and powerful anti-anxiety treatment. It helps relieve tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances well-being by releasing endorphins. Any activity that gets you moving will help you, but you will get a bigger benefit if you can pay attention instead of checking out.
Try and notice the feelings of your feet hitting the ground, or the rhythm of your breathing, or how the wind feels on your skin. By trying to be more mindful, focusing on your body and how it feels while exercising, you can improve your physical conditions faster and interrupt the constant worries that may run through your head.