Mental Health Benefits of Exercise.Exercise is a well-known treatment for many physical health conditions, but it’s less often considered when managing mental health conditions.
Recently, however, a study released showing that exercise is 1.5 times more effective than therapy or medications for treating mild-to-moderate depression, anxiety and psychological distress.
Exercise Improves Mood
Exercise can improve your mood by releasing endorphins in the brain that reduce pain perception and enhance pleasure. This feeling, often referred to as “runner’s high,” occurs immediately following exercise.
Research has demonstrated that people who exercise regularly are less likely to experience depression or other mental health issues. It’s essential to note that exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous or time consuming in order to reap these rewards.
Another essential factor when selecting an exercise routine is finding one you enjoy and can commit to regularly. Doing this will keep your motivation high, increasing the likelihood that you’ll stick with it long-term.
Exercises such as aerobic, weight training and stretching can all have beneficial effects on your mood and mental health. Selecting an activity you can do with friends or partners is also recommended; this will motivate you to stick with it and ensure you enjoy the experience.
Exercise Reduces Anxiety
Exercise has long been proven to reduce anxiety symptoms, elevating serotonin and other neurotransmitters that regulate mood. Furthermore, it promotes the release of endorphins – natural opiates which enhance feelings of well-being while relieving pain.
Exercise regularly with aerobic activities like walking, jogging, swimming or bicycling can reduce stress levels, promote better sleep quality and prevent multi-day builds ups of anxiety. Furthermore, it lowers your resting heart rate which in turn prevents adrenaline or cortisol buildup in your system.
Maintaining a healthy weight helps you lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Recent research from Sweden indicates that even low-intensity exercise may help alleviate anxiety symptoms. A group of people with anxiety who participated in both low and high intensity physical activity for 12 weeks at a frequency matched to their capacity, saw significant improvements in terms of their symptoms of anxiety.
Consistency is key for reaping these rewards – the more frequently you do something, the greater your chance for positive changes. Experiment with different approaches until you find a routine you enjoy and will stick with.
Exercise Increases Self-Esteem
One of the best ways to boost your self-esteem is to begin an exercise regimen. Not only will this build physical strength, but also boost confidence levels.
Exercise regularly – no matter if it’s walking, running, or jumping rope. A study from the University of Essex found that even five minutes of aerobic activity can boost self-esteem and mood.
A great way to maximize the effectiveness of your exercise regimen is to hire a personal trainer. They can motivate you to stay consistent and set achievable objectives for yourself.
Exercise with a friend can be highly beneficial to your self-esteem, as having someone encouraging by your side makes exercise fun and motivates you towards reaching your objectives!
Exercise Improves Sleep
Exercise is an effective natural sleep aid that can help you drift off faster and stay asleep longer. Additionally, it increases the duration of restorative sleep – the most essential phase of the cycle – during which your body repairs itself and regenerates.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, people who regularly get 30-60 minutes of exercise a day report better sleep than those who don’t. It is essential to remember that everyone responds differently to exercise so it’s best to find an activity you enjoy and commit to it for at least 30-60 minutes each day.
One of the most frequently asked questions about exercising for improved sleep is whether it’s beneficial to do it an hour before bed. Studies have demonstrated that doing exercises an hour prior to going to bed does not generally lead to reduced quality of sleep for most individuals.