Exercising might not be your favorite past time but it has numerous advantages. Besides toning your body and keeping you away from various diseases, it also helps with clearing your mind and improves your emotional well-being. When it comes to our physical wellbeing, we have a plethora of options to help enhance our look but these will only help our state of mind to a certain extent.
Here are eight different ways, physical activity can help improve your mental health and state of mind:
Having a rough, long day? Hit the gym or get those limbs moving by a quick workout. Working out is known as the best stress reliever which is absolutely free. Working up a sweat can help manage not only physical but also mental stress. Exercise has the capacity of increasing concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress. So go ahead and get sweaty—working out can reduce stress and boost the body’s ability to deal with existing mental tension. Win-win!
Boost happy chemicals
Indulging in physical movement also result in happiness. Yes, it is true. Exercise releases a chemical known as endorphins, which induces feelings of happiness and euphoria. Studies have shown that exercise can even alleviate symptoms among the clinically depressed. For this reason, doctors recommend that people suffering from depression or anxiety to hit the gym or exercise as much as possible.
In some cases, exercise can be just as effective as antidepressant pills in treating depression. Rest assured if you are not exactly the gym type— you can still get a happy buzz from working out at home. Even if you work out for just 30 minutes it can instantly boost your overall mood. Remember, your happiness is in your own hands and exercising is the first step towards your goals.
Hop on the treadmill to look (and more importantly, feel) like a million bucks. On a very basic level, physical fitness can boost self-esteem and improve positive self-image. Regardless of weight, size, gender, or age, exercise can quickly elevate a person’s perception of his or her attractiveness, that is, self-worth. How’s that for feeling the (self) love? For all the beautiful ladies out there who need a confidence boost, consider exercise and investing in apparel items such as waist trainers as these products are particularly designed to give you that much needed confidence boost!
Enjoy the great outdoors
If you don’t want to spend money on a gym membership and for that little extra boost of self-love, take that workout outside. Exercising in the great outdoors can increase self-esteem even more by saving those extra bucks.
Find an outdoor workout that fits your style, whether it’s rock-climbing, hiking, renting a canoe, or just taking a jog in the park. Plus, all that Vitamin D acquired from soaking up the sun (while wearing sunscreen, of course!) can lessen the likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms.
Anxiety is an emotion which we all, at some point experience and absolutely hate. It can be triggered by the tinniest, most routinely things ever. To alleviate that unwanted emotion, exercise!
The warm and fuzzy chemicals that are released during and after exercise can help people with anxiety disorders calm down. Hopping on the track or treadmill for some moderate-to-high intensity aerobic exercise (intervals, anyone?) can reduce anxiety sensitivity and we thought intervals were just a good way to burn calories!
Those buff lab rats might be smarter than we think. Various studies on mice and men have shown that cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells (aka neurogenesis) and improve overall brain performance. Ready to apply for a Nobel Prize? Studies suggest that a tough workout increases levels of a brain-derived protein (known as BDNF) in the body, believed to help with decision making, higher thinking, and learning. Smarty (spandex) pants, indeed.
Regular physical activity boosts memory and ability to learn new things. Getting sweaty increases production of cells in hippocampus responsible for memory and learning. For this reason, research has linked children’s brain development with level of physical fitness. But exercise-based brainpower isn’t just for kids, working out can boost memory among grown-ups, too. A study showed that running sprints improved vocabulary retention among healthy adults so, hey! You’re all set to compete in spelling bee.
Help control addiction
Exercise plays with our brain and its chemical in the best way ever. It results in your brain releasing dopamine which in simple words is called “reward chemical”. This usually is released in response to any form of pleasure, be that exercise, sex, drugs, alcohol, or food. So basically, if you’re going through an addiction, with a proper exercise regime you can control it.
Not just that, working out has other benefits, too. Alcohol abuse disrupts many body processes, including circadian rhythms. As a result, alcoholics find they can’t fall asleep (or stay asleep) without drinking. Exercise can help reboot the body clock, helping people hit the hay at the right time and get the beauty sleep their body has been waiting for.
Working out comes with all sorts of benefits which are not just limited to one’s physicality. It helps with gaining self-confidence, getting out of a funk, and even thinking smarter and clearer are some of the motivations to take time for exercise on a regular basis. With that being said, it is imperative that it is not taken as a mere chore but must be enjoyed to amplify those benefits!
James Crook is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger. He loves to write on healthy lifestyle, fitness 101 and DIY related topics. Currently, he is associated with Hour Glass Express, the best online store for waist trainer. Follow @jamescrook911 for more updates.