There’s no denying the countless physical benefits of regular exercise. You become stronger, more flexible, and more energetic. You can also lose weight, boost your stamina, and reach personal fitness goals. Exercise can also strengthen your body and help you heal faster. You may be able to find relief from prolonged discomfort through sciatica pain relief exercises or there are some people also who would prefer to undergo labiaplasty to feel better about or in their own bodies. What many forget, though, is that exercise also benefits the mind.
The best part? It’s a natural “bonus.” Getting regular exercise to improve your physical health will automatically come with mental health “perks” along the way.
Not sure what those mental health benefits are? Let’s cover a few of them, so you can be more in tune with your next workout.
Altering Chemical Balances in the Brain
Each time you exercise, your brain starts to behave differently. The American Psychological Association found that even one workout can reduce the production of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine, and ongoing exercise routines can increase the production of chemicals that help you more efficiently process stress while improving your memory.
Alleviating Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
Exercise can be an effective treatment for those suffering from a major depressive disorder. A study published in the 2007 edition of Psychosomatic Medicine found that consistent exercise routines helped 41% of patients achieve complete symptom remission in four months, meaning they no longer met the criteria for being diagnosed with major depressive disorder. The researchers concluded that incorporating an exercise routine into your life was just as effective as using antidepressant medication in the treatment of depression.
Exercise can also help those suffering from anxiety disorders. Many dealing with such disorders tend to lead sedentary lives. Research published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology found that deliberate changes to that lifestyle dramatically reduce symptoms and lead to sustained recovery.
Providing Healthy Coping Skills
Even if you are not clinically diagnosed with a mood disorder, you probably experience acute stress now and then. Coping with stress can be difficult, and several unhealthy coping mechanisms exist, from substance abuse to overeating and beyond. The Mayo Clinic reports that exercise provides an alternative that not only helps your body but can divert attention away from your stressors and burn off some of the nervous energy you’ve built up.
Heading out to the gym or an exercise class may prove effective in fighting back against agoraphobia – fear of leaving the home. As the Journal of Psychiatric Research found, it can function as a sort of immersion therapy, offering a safe, structured pathway out into the world while giving you an outlet for the nervous energy that accompanies going out in public.
We know the impact exercise can have on your body and overall physical health, but the changes in your body can also impact the way you see yourself. Weight loss, improved muscle definition, and the energy boost generated from continued workouts can change the way you look at yourself in the mirror and generate pride from the effort you’re putting into bettering yourself.
We could talk about the physical reasons to move your body all day, but don’t forget – your mind is begging you to put rubber to the road. With all the associated mental health benefits, developing and following through with a healthy, safe exercise regimen is a no-brainer. Get moving, and enjoy the mental and physical benefits that come with it.