Regular exercise has countless benefits such as increased fitness levels, an improved physique and even helps you live longer. Exercise also contributes to having a healthy heart, bones and joints. But did you know there are also many benefits of exercise on your mental health?
According to a study published in the Official Journal of the Association of Medicine and Psychiatry, ‘exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function.’ Exercise not only promotes your physical wellbeing, but also contributes to improving your mental wellbeing!
What is mental wellbeing?
The Department of health defines wellbeing as ‘an individual’s experience of their life; and a comparison of life circumstances with social norms and values.’ More specifically, mental wellbeing is ‘is more than just the absence of mental illness. It is a positive state of mind and body, underpinned by social and psychological wellbeing. It enables and supports good relationships, improved resilience, improved health, meaning, purpose and control.’
Our mental wellbeing is connected to how we feel in our bodies as well as our minds. Poor physical health reduces our quality of life and affects our mental wellbeing. Luckily, just thirty minutes of exercise at moderate intensity has sufficient health benefits!
Exercise helps with symptoms of depression because it lifts your mood. Moving your body promotes changes in your brain that create feelings of well-being. Your brain releases chemicals known as endorphins during exercise that act as your body’s natural pain reliever. These chemicals are responsible for the happiness boost you feel after exercise.
The recommended weekly exercise for adults is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity. There are loads of different exercises out there that will help you improve your mood. Any exercise can help improve your mood. So, find one you enjoy and vary your routine to keep things interesting.
If you experience anxiety, exercise can also help to calm your mind. Anxiety is our body’s natural reaction to danger. However, anxiety disorders are caused when worries and fears begin to interrupt your daily life and interfere with relationships.
Regular exercise is proven to be as effective as medication for treating anxiety. Focusing on a single activity for a set amount of time diverts your attention from your worries. Incorporating mindfulness in your exercise routine further supports focus. Yoga is a great way to combine mindfulness and exercise for a healthier mind.
Have you ever noticed that, when you are stressed, your body feels more tense? The physical symptoms of stress include low energy, headaches, muscle tension or pain and a rapid heartbeat. Well, stress relief is another benefit of consistent exercise!
Working out helps your muscles relax and relieve tensions in the body. It also reduces the level of stress hormones in your body, such as cortisol and adrenaline. So, if you’re stressed, physical activity is a great way to help you rest and relax.
Sleep plays a huge role in our overall health. Your quality of sleep affects how much energy you have throughout the day and, as a result, how likely you are to be active. Exercising early in the day has been proven to aid longer sleep and reduce sleep onset – the time it takes to fall asleep.
When you exercise, your brain converts an amino acid called tryptophan into serotonin. Serotonin benefits your sleep, mood, memory and learning. A good night’s rest reduces tiredness and increases energy making you mentally alert and ready to take on the next day!
There are many ways exercise benefits your mental wellbeing. Regular exercise reduces symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress and improves sleep quality. Overall, staying active is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of exercise and how you can incorporate them into your routine, then feel free to contact Ceed. Our experts are here to help you reach your goals!