The Benefits of Regular Exercise For Mental Health

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Exercise regularly improves moods, relieves stress, promotes sleep and can be used as a form of mental health treatment when combined with medications and psychotherapy.

Though it may not always be obvious, physical activity has an immense effect on mental health. It doesn’t need to be hours spent at the gym or running miles – even moderate amounts of movement can help make a difference.

Improved Mood

If you suffer from depression or anxiety, exercise can be a powerful tool in managing symptoms. Not only does it distract yourself from negative thoughts, but also releases endorphins which improve moods and lower stress levels.

Exercising for mental health benefits requires some dedication and motivation. To reap these rewards, find activities you enjoy doing and commit to them over time.

Exercise is often associated with cardiovascular training, but there are plenty of other activities that can increase your activity level and lift your mood. Running, lifting weights, playing basketball or doing something less strenuous all have the potential to make you feel better.

Reduced Stress

Exercising regularly can help us reduce stress in many ways. This is because it elevates our moods, alertness and energy levels.

Exercising can improve cognitive functioning and enable us to think better under stress. Furthermore, exercise has been known to lower our risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other illnesses that are highly stressful.

Even a few minutes of moderate activity, such as walking or jogging, can be beneficial for stress relief. Research has even suggested that getting up and moving around may reduce depression in those who sit for extended periods during the day.

Another form of exercise that can help manage stress is called autoregulation techniques, which aim to replace the spiraling stress with a cycle of relaxation. These may include breathing and muscle relaxation exercises.

Better Sleep

Exercise is an integral part of living a healthy lifestyle. Not only does it lift your mood, reduce stress, enhance memory and sleep quality, but it has been known to reduce depression too!

Moderate exercise (like brisk walking, jogging or swimming) has been proven to promote deeper sleep phases – the most restorative parts of the night. Plus, these slow-wave sleep intervals also boost your immune system, cardiac health and muscle repair/regeneration.

Studies have demonstrated that regular exercise can significantly improve sleep, particularly among older adults. Furthermore, it has the added benefit of decreasing daytime sleepiness.

Better Memory

Exercising is not only a great way to boost your physical wellbeing, but it can also make you mentally sharper. Exercise encourages the growth of new brain cells and helps prevent cognitive decline.

Exercising releases natural chemicals that lift your mood and sharpen memory-related parts of the brain. Endorphins and serotonin help you feel more focused, ready to tackle whatever challenges life throws at you at that moment.

One study revealed that those who were more physically active over a year performed better on memory tests than their less active peers. It remains unknown why this occurs, but it could be because regular exercise alters the structure of the brain to enhance memory performance over time.

Exercise has also been proven to help treat mental health conditions like depression and anxiety by relieving stress, relieving symptoms associated with these illnesses, and improving sleep patterns.