The benefits of exercise are no longer hidden. Emotional benefits of exercise are something which thousands of scientists have researched upon. People across all ages and genders hit the gym or jogging track to improve cardiovascular health, lose weight, and get that rocking body. But not a lot of people know that working out has above-the-neck benefits, too. There are so many exercise and mental health studies out there that prove how exercising can boost brain function.
Exercising provides mental health benefits to people of all ages. So, if a lean body is not enough to inspire you to get your body moving, maybe these exercise mental health benefits will. Here are some mental health benefits of exercise.
Emotional benefits of exercise: Reduce stress
One of the essential exercise mental health benefits is stress relief. If you’ve had a rough day at the office, take a walk or head to the gym for a quick workout. Sweating it out can help manage physical and mental stress and provide stress relief.
Why? Exercising releases a chemical in your brain called norepinephrine, which moderates your brain’s response to stress. Therefore, working out and getting sweaty can help you reduce stress and help you cope with your existing mental tension.
Emotional benefits of exercise: Boosts happy chemicals
Slogging through a few miles on the treadmill can be difficult, but it’s worth the effort. One of the exercise mental health facts is that exercise releases endorphins, a type of chemical that creates a feeling of euphoria and happiness.
Exercise and mental health studies also suggest that exercise can decrease the symptoms of clinically depressed. Therefore, doctors suggest that people suffering from mental health issues like depression or anxiety should spend plenty of time in the gym.
In fact, in some cases, exercising can be as beneficial as antidepressant pills in treating depression. And you don’t essentially need to hit the gym. If you’re not the gym rate type, get a good 30-minute jog or walk in the morning a few times a week. The focus is to make your body drop sweat – no matter how you do it.
Emotional benefits of exercise: Enhances self-confidence
Regular exercise can help you look and feel like a million bucks. For starters, fitness can boost self-esteem and self-confidence; it also improves positive self-image. No matter what age, size, weight, and gender you are, exercise can go a long way in elevating your perception of yourself.
Enjoy the outdoors
Unless you’re an introvert, exercising in the outdoors can increase your self-esteem even more. Moreover, when you work outdoors, the exercise options you have are unlimited. You can choose from jogging, hiking, swimming, rock-climbing, and more. Moreover, that high dose of Vitamin D will also do its magic to lessen the likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms.
Prevent cognitive decline
Sad but true, as we get older, our brains get a bit hazy. Aging also leads to diseases like Alzheimer’s, which kills the brain cells and affects important brain functions. One of the emotional benefits of exercise is that it can help shore up the brain against the usual cognitive decline.
Your brain function starts alleviating after the age of 45. Working out between age 25 and 45 boosts chemicals in the brain that help prevent degeneration of the hippocampus, a part of the brain that deals with memory and learning.
Emotional benefits of exercise: Reduces anxiety
It might come as a surprise to many people, but one of the exercise mental health facts is that a 20-minute jog can help you with anxiety disorders better than the often-recommended warm bubble bath. Hopping on the treadmill or track for a moderate-high intensity aerobic exercise session can reduce anxiety sensitivity, apart from burning calories.
A plethora of exercise and mental health articles on mice and men have indicated that cardiovascular exercise can promote the process of neurogenesis (creation of new brain cells) and improve overall brain performance. A high-intensity workout increases the levels of BDNF in the body, a brain-deprived protein that helps with decision making, higher thinking, and learning.
Besides, regular physical activity also boosts memory and the ability to learn new things. Working out increases the production of cells in the hippocampus responsible for learning and memory. Research has also linked children’s brain development with high levels of physical fitness. But sweating out can boost memory among grown-ups too. A study suggested that healthy adults who ran sprints showed improved vocabulary retention.
The brain releases dopamine, a hormone that provides a euphoric, feel-good, and pleasureful effect. The hormone is released in response to any form of pleasure, including drugs, alcohol, food, and exercise. Dopamine is addictive, and people start using substances that produce it, like drugs and alcohol. The good news, however, is that exercise can help with addiction recovery. Short workout sessions can distract your mind from alcohol or drug addiction, making you de-prioritize your cravings.
Working out has other benefits, too. Alcohol and drug abuse disrupt several body processes, like circadian rhythms. Thus, alcoholics find it difficult to fall asleep without drinking. Exercise can help reboot your body clock and enable you to hit the sack at the right time.
Are you having trouble sleeping? Try ending the night after a long run or weight session at the gym. In fact, studies suggest that a moderate workout can equivalate the effects of sleeping pills – it can even help people with insomnia. Moving around for a few hours before bedtime increases your body’s core temperature. When your body returns to normal temperature a few hours later, it signals the body to go to sleep.
Increased productivity and creativity
One of the emotional benefits of exercise is increased productivity. If you’re feeling uninspired or lazy at work, a short walk or jog could be all you need. Research suggests that office workers who exercise regularly feel more productive and energetic than their sedentary peers. Busy work schedules may make it tough to spare some time for a gym session, but experts believe that midday is the best time to work out.
Apart from helping you become more productive, exercise also increases your creativity levels. An intense gym session can boost creativity for up to two hours. So next time you’re having creativity issues, hit the track to refresh your body and mind at the same time.
Whether it’s a run with a friend, a group class at the gym, or a game of soccer, exercise doesn’t usually happen in a bubble. And that’s good news. Exercise and mental health articles show that people perform better on aerobic tests when paired with a partner. Working out with someone boosts healthy competition – nobody wants to let the other person down.
Besides, being in time can be so powerful that it can raise your tolerance for pain, and prevent you from giving up too soon. Even if you’re a fitness beginner, a workout buddy can help you get moving and push harder.
Working out has benefits that go beyond building muscle or getting that dream beach body. It can go a long way in helping you gain confidence, build self-esteem, and develop a positive image of yourself. In addition, it enhances brain function and helps you become more productive and creative. Lastly, it relaxes your mind and body, and it also allows you to sleep better.
So, which one of the exercise mental health benefits did you like the most?