You are well aware of how regular exercise can benefit your physical health. Your doctor tells you to exercise to lower your risk of developing diseases like Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. Also, exercising regularly helps you maintain a healthy body weight. Yes, it is a proven fact that you need exercise for your physical health.
However, some of us often overlook the mental well-being benefits of exercise. To name some benefits, exercise can help fight off depression, help you get a better goodnight’s sleep, and helps you feel good about yourself. In short, exercise is a powerful medicine to fight off mental health problems.
Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health
Exercise helps people who have mental health issues manage their symptoms. Simultaneously, it is advantageous for mentally healthy people to have quality sleep, increase energy levels, decrease stress levels, and many more. Here are several reasons to convince you to pick up your feet and start exercising:
Decrease Stress Hormones and Increase Happy Hormones
The study behind exercise as beneficial to mental health all boils down to the hormones. During exercise, the stress hormones called cortisol and adrenaline in the body decreases. Then the so-called feel-good chemicals in the brain known as endorphins are produced. That’s why after a good exercise, you feel you’re in a good mood, and you feel happy.
Exercise distracts your mind off from negative emotions or problems, thus reduces depression and anxiety. You will be amazed at how a simple 30-minute exercise plan every day can do wonders for your mental well-being.
Regular Physical Activity Helps You Gain Self-Confidence
There are two ways adhering to regular exercise programs can help you gain confidence: first is you get in shape, so you feel confident about your appearance, the second reason is exercise can help you boost your self-esteem.
Sometimes confidence in oneself and self-esteem affect a person’s body perception. So when your body image improves, and you see the results of your exercise routine pays off, you feel better about the way you look and help ease depression and anxiety.
Improve Your Everyday Function
Do you want to perform better at school or work? Are you finding natural ways to feel mentally sharp and increase your concentration? Do you want to feel more energized during the day to improve your everyday function? Even without paying for an exercise class, you can all achieve this with regular physical activity. Exercise stim
After a good workout and overtime as you adhere to regular exercise programs, you’ll feel more energized to do your daily tasks, you don’t get tired easily, you’ll have a sharper memory, and you just feel good about yourself every day. When you keep up with this pattern, positive emotional and mental health will be part of your everyday life.
Improved Sleeping and Eating Patterns
Did you notice that after a good exercise during the day, you instantly fall asleep when you lay in bed at night? Aside from the body sores, exercising regularly can help you sleep better at night. Not getting enough sleep will make you feel cranky and tired the next day, and that may take a toll on your mental health.
In addition, as you exercise, you get conscious of what you eat, so the tendency is you eat healthy foods. When you eat and sleep right, this will benefit your physical and mental well-being the most.
Building Individual Resilience
Resilience is a person’s ability to adapt to difficult life situations and stressors. If you regularly exercise, you don’t resort to unhealthy coping habits like illegal drugs, alcohol, or negative behaviors. If you have a present mental illness, unhealthy coping habits will make the symptoms worse.
Physical activity helps you build your resilience to face emotional and mental challenges the healthy way. Those who have major depressive disorder and panic disorder can benefit the most from exercising regularly. Individuals who have strong resilience learn to cope the healthy way and can handle stress well.
Recommended Exercise and Physical Activity
You don’t need an expensive gym membership or workout long hours in the gym to take care of your mental well-being. There are many exercise options you can do even without spending a single penny. Studies show that a 30-minute exercise 3-5 times a week can significantly help manage depression and anxiety symptoms.
Here are some of the physical activity you can do to take care of your mental health:
- Outdoor running or biking: Other than the mental health benefits of outdoor physical activity, spending time with nature, known as ecotherapy, can help with mild to moderate depression.
- Yoga: Hatha yoga, for instance, is the most popular yoga-type to help fight depression. Yoga paired with meditation and controlled breathing can help you relax and can benefit most of your mental health.
- Tai Chi: This is a Chinese martial art that combines slow body movements, rhythmic breathing, and meditation; this is also called the meditation in motion. Studies show that Tai Chi helps mental health patients reduce stress, lessen anxiety, improve mood, increase self-esteem, and many more.
- Exercise around the house or office: Cleaning the house, washing your car, tending your garden, sweeping the sidewalk, dancing around the living room, running around with your kids in the yard, swimming, walking around the office, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, briskly walking to the bus stop before going to work are short exercises but are very helpful in taking care of the mental health.
As you can see, you don’t need to spend a single penny to keep your body moving. There are many creative physical activities to stay active while having fun and spending time with your family. You can even follow home workout videos on YouTube or online videos of an aerobic exercise.
Physical activity must not be just a one-time thing; it should be a part of your lifestyle to appreciate the long-term positive effects on your mental health. However, if depression and anxiety are starting to affect your daily life, seek the help of a mental health professional now. Exercise is useful in managing the symptoms of a mental illness; however, pairing it with Talk Therapy will help you recover faster. If you need to find mental health professionals, Kentucky Counseling Center is here to help you.