Chances are, you already know how beneficial exercise can be for your body. Regularly working out can do wonders for helping you maintain your weight, keeping your blood pressure in a healthy range, giving you more energy, and decreasing your risk of developing conditions like diabetes. You may be surprised to learn, however, that exercise can also benefit your mental health. Researchers have found that exercise can do everything from combating anxiety and depression to improving memory. Once you read through all of the psychological benefits listed below, you no doubt will want to start exercising right away.
Relief From Anxiety And Depression
Studies have shown that exercise is extremely effective at combating both anxiety and depression. When you are physically active, your body releases endorphins along with other feel-good hormones and chemicals. The best part is, you don’t have to go to extremes to enjoy these benefits. Even a moderate workout can elevate your mood and make you feel calmer. Many health professionals have their patients try exercising before putting them on prescription medication when treating these conditions.
Exercise is also extremely effective at reducing stress. Lower stress levels can leave you feeling happier and less anxious. When you elevate your heart rate through exercise, neurohormones such as norepinephrine are released, helping to counteract the effects of stress on the brain. This can help you think more clearly while at the same time making you feel happier. As an added bonus, the process of exercising also increases communication between the sympathetic nervous system and the central nervous system. This, in turn, increases the body’s capacity to handle stress.
A Better Self-Image And More Confidence
Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight while at the same time keeping your muscles toned. It also improves other physical abilities such as balance, coordination, and endurance. Together, all of these physical improvements can do wonders for your self-image and self-esteem. There is a great sense of accomplishment that comes along with being able to walk up several flights of stairs without running out of breath or being able to fit into a smaller pair of jeans. These positive physical changes can do wonders for the way that you think about yourself and your ability to accomplish great things.
More Restful Sleep
Exercise can do wonders for promoting better sleep. When you are physically active, your body temperature rises, resulting in a calmer, more focused mind. This can make it a lot easier for you to fall asleep. Additionally, your body’s circadian rhythm is regulated when you exercise on a regular basis. The circadian rhythm dictates when you feel sleepy and when you feel wide awake. One word of caution, however – avoid exercising right before you go to bed. Instead, exercise earlier in the day so that you are sleepy when bedtime rolls around.
A Sharper Mind
Exercising can sharpen your mind and can help your brain function better. Interestingly, when you get cardiovascular exercise, new brain cells are generated through a process known as neurogenesis. This can result in better brain function. Exercising also has been shown to minimize memory loss and to help maintain cognitive function through its ability to strengthen the hippocampus. This area of the brain plays a key role in your ability to learn and to remember things. Exercise has also been shown to stimulate creative thinking and to increase mental energy. Oftentimes, people find that exercising is the best way to get inspired.