How Are Exercise and Mental Health Linked?
By now, we are all well aware of the correlation between exercise and mental health. But for those who haven’t given much thought to the effects of exercise on mental health, we are going to explore explicitly the link between the two.
Before we dive into the benefits, we have to understand the importance of sound mental health in an individual’s life and what it means
Mental health is a concoction of a person’s mood, cognitive abilities, levels of emotional functionality, relationships, overall perception, and much more. The quality of your mental health determines the quality of your life.
Most people fail to realize that your mental health is determined by factors such as eating habits, education, health care, socio-economic background, and most importantly exercise.
How Does Exercise Affect Your Mental Health?
The role of exercise on mental health has been a positive one. A study conducted on over 1 million people in the US concluded that those who exercised regularly experienced fewer days of poor mental health compared to those who didn’t.
Everyday scientists are learning about new ways exercise boosts mental health. It all boils down to its therapeutic effects on our brain function. Besides helping us keep in shape, giving us a sense of accomplishment and being an excellent social stimulant, even a small physical movement does wonders for us upstairs.
A clinical psychologist, Anders Hovland from the University of Bergen, Norway, states “It’s a very potent intervention to be physically active.”
Exercise and mental health are the most talked about subjects of our time, yet people don’t realize the importance. Human beings were born to move. By living a sedentary lifestyle, we are fighting our evolutionary history. Human and bodies can’t be talked about separately because humans are bodies and bodies are meant to move. Movement is key to our overall health.
5 Benefits Of Exercise On Mental Health
Here are five proven ways exercise and mental health boast a positive correlation.
1. Mood Booster
If you have ever worked out, you are most probably aware of the incredible effects of moving your body and working out a sweat. Studies report that any form of exercise, be it low or high intensity, can release “feel good” hormones.
People who work out often report lower levels of anxiety and are less likely to experience symptoms of depression. Research suggests that regular exercise can work as an effective anti-depressant for those experiencing low to moderate depression.
2. Better Sleep Quality
National Sleep Foundation reports that those who work out regularly get much better sleep compared to people who don’t. The relationship between sleep, exercise, and mental health is an important one.
You don’t have to wait for months to experience the positive changes in your sleep cycle once you start working out.
The day you exercise is the day you’ll sleep better. However, try to work out at least 2 hours before your bedtime. Exercising close to your sleep time makes it difficult for you to relax and get a goodnight’s sleep.
3. Brain Booster
Exercising not only boosts your mood but is also linked to sharper memory and improved thinking skills. In other words, it’s a great brain booster.
If you ever experience brain fog or feel sluggish, go for a run, or do quick 10-minute set of aerobic exercises and you will feel like a new person in no time.
According to NCBI, exercise increases the size of the hippocampus, an area in the brain that regulates memory and learning.
4. Improved Confidence and Self-Esteem
When you are done exercising, you can’t help but feel a sense of achievement. You know that you managed to take out time off your busy schedule to cater to your body.
You feel stronger and the endorphins released after the workout make you feel de-stressed. At that moment in time, you are ready to take over the world. This feeling is addictive and it is what improves your self-esteem and confidence.
It paves the way for you to do better in other aspects of your life such as work, relationships, and so on.
5. Get Creative
Workout gets your creative juices flowing. It is reported that a robust workout regime boosts creativity for two hours.
Physical activity can boost imagination tenfold. Exercise enhances the growth of new birth cells in the hippocampus, bringing out the artist in us.
Next time there is a need for a creative boost, go to your local gym or take a long walk.
Shop Gym Wear For Your Next Workout Session
How To Improve Mental Health With Exercise?
As we talked about above, exercise can really help boost mental health. So, how can you use the magic of workouts to give your mental health a boost?
Here is how.
First, you must learn about how your body and mind work.
Whether you are hitting your local gym or taking a yoga class, any sort of movement is a step towards the right direction. As mentioned earlier, exercise and mental health go hand-in-hand.
To improve your overall well-being, you must create a positive mind and body connection, only possible via exercise. Physical performance plays a great role in determining your mental health.
Secondly, make a routine to work out. A healthy routine is important for us to develop healthy habits. These habits are a form of self-care that have to be maintained in order to feel happy and content.
A good routine also helps with sleep. Having a goodnight’s sleep means you have enough energy to get a workout in.
If you have trouble working out, we have just the formula to help you get started.
Third important aspect is diet. A good diet is essential for a good health. Eating nutritious food provides protection against lifelong diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart diseases.
Pair up healthy eating with exercise and you have a recipe for immortality.
Also, check out these amazing workouts to get your neurons flowing with happiness:
- A 10-minute HIIT workout to burn calories
- Full body workout to burn fat fast
- Five lower body exercises to try at home
Starting a new workout regime can feel overwhelming but with patience and perseverance, you can make it happen. Since the link between exercise and mental health is strong, all you need is a little push to experience the benefits of increased physical activity mentioned in this article.