There are loads of benefits to exercise and other fitness activities, including weight loss and improved mental health. Of course, shedding a few pounds is good for your self-confidence and long-term health, but scientists who study fitness have found that exercise also leads to improved mental health in many different ways. If weight loss is one of your goals, you’re setting the stage for a healthier, longer life, and even mild exercise can help you achieve that goal. Moreover, your brain and mood will love you for it!
Connecting the Dots Between Exercise and Mental Health
If you’re not sure how mental health and fitness connect, read onward for a list of the amazing mental benefits of exercise. If you’ve been wondering how does fitness improve mental health, this should answer your questions:
Tapping Into Your Happy Chemicals
Your body responds to exercise by releasing endorphins and other neurotransmitters that can make you feel euphoric, relaxed, and all-around cheerful. The so-called “runner’s high” comes from these natural chemicals that are designed to keep your body going when you work out. As an added benefit, exercise reduces your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that your body produces in response to stress, and in the long term it can heighten your risk of chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Relieving Stress, One Step at a Time
Getting out there and playing a game of badminton, taking a walk, or hitting the gym aren’t just things you can do to reach your weight loss goals, physical acitivity also pushes your stress levels down. Exercise helps you focus on something other than the stuff that’s bugging you and stressing you out, and people who exercise tend to eat healthier, more nutritious food, which in turn can keep tension and inflammation at bay.
In addition, burning off some excess energy and getting your muscles moving will keep you from feeling jittery, which is good for the coffee drinkers out there. Research also shows that exercise reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression. So, if you’re looking to take the weight of the day off your shoulders, put together a fitness plan that’s right for you and get cracking!
Exercise gives you a good dose of self-confidence and makes you feel happier to be you. Exercise can help you with weight loss, build muscle tone, and make you look like a million bucks, but it also helps your self-esteem when you set a fitness goal and are able to achieve it! Accomplishing fitness goals is important, which is why experts recommend doing activities that you enjoy and switching up your exercise routine so it doesn’t become boring. In this way, you can enjoy the health and self-confidence benefits of a personalized fitness plan.
Better Brain Function
Studies show that exercise can help prevent Alzheimer’s and other cognitive decline as you age. Furthermore, a fitness routine increases cell production in your hippocampus, which is the part of your brain that governs memory and learning, so working out can actually make you smarter! If you’re the creative type, here’s more good news: exercise can boost creativity, energy, and productivity – several reasons why it’s a good idea to get away from your desk for a midday walk and avoid that late afternoon slump at the office.
Sleep Like a Baby
One of the reasons that people get stressed, anxious, and depressed is a lack of good sleep. Insomnia is a nightmare, and exercising makes it easier to fall asleep at night and enjoy improved quality of sleep. If you choose to exercise late in the day, it raises your body’s core temperature for a while, and when it returns to normal, your body takes that cue to mean that it’s time to go to bed.
Seeing the Light
Another way to enhance your mood is to get outside and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. It gives you a chance to avoid mindless snacking, stock up on some vital Vitamin D, see the sights, and keep boredom and anxiety at bay. So plan an “exercise adventure” today to enjoy the mood benefits of the great outdoors.
If you struggle with addiction or alcoholism, exercise is a good way to fight off cravings and keep your mind and body occupied with something productive that’s good for your self-confidence, as well as your mental and emotional health. Exercise releases dopamine, which is a “reward” chemical that can cause people to become addicted to unhealthy things. This makes fitness a good way to rewire your body’s reward system so that you’re no longer dependent on the dopamine that’s released by drug or alcohol use.