Mental Benefits Of Exercise That You Must Know

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Riin Rehemaa
Social Media & Community Manager

Usually when we talk about exercising, we first think of all the physical benefits that come along with it. Toned muscles, better endurance and stronger body. But that isn’t all that physical activity has to offer.  Regular exercising can help fight off depression, anxiety and stress. Taking care of your mental health isn’t just about talking it out – what’s good for the body has a huge impact on your mind as well. Taking time to learn and understand which physical activities work best for you, will have remarkable effects on both, your day-to-day life and overall well-being.  

Exercising comes with several mental health benefits. Physical Activity Guidelines show that physical activity improves brain health and cognitive function, as well as reduces the risk of anxiety and depression. Regular workouts help with better sleep and mood. Keep in mind, if you have health concerns about starting a new exercising regime, it is a good idea to consult with your doctor first. Salu’s medical team can help you out!

How does exercising benefit mental health?

Exercise is so much more than just looking fit! It can actually help you live a longer, healthier life with plenty of benefits, like increased energy and improved endurance. It’s also an amazing mood booster! Studies have found that consistent workouts can boost energy levels throughout the day and help you get a better night’s rest. Plus – your mind benefits greatly as well, improving concentration and mental well-being. 

Even just a little bit of exercise can have a huge positive impact on depression, anxiety and stress. No matter how old you are or if you feel like a complete stranger to regular physical activity – exercising benefits us all! Embrace it as part of an enjoyable routine to help manage any mental health struggles that you might face, not only as a way of getting stronger and fitter.

  1. Anxiety – Exercise is also a powerful weapon against stress and anxiety. Moving your body helps to release tension and increase energy levels (both physical and mental) while giving you that amazing endorphin rush of happiness hormones. With some mindfulness, you will not only get in shape faster but also break away from your stress and anxiety. Instead of just letting yourself drift off into a spiral of thoughts during a workout, try being mindful as you move. Take notice of the feel of your feet on the ground when running or walking, and focus on the rhythm of your breath as it gets deeper – this can help stay present in the moment to calm anxious thoughts while strengthening your body and mind.
  2. Depression – Exercise can be a powerful and effective way to treat mild or moderate depression. A recent Harvard study uncovered that just 15 minutes of running daily, or an hour’s worth of walking, could reduce your risk for major depressive episodes by 26%. Not only does getting active help to relieve symptoms you may already feel, but it also makes it less likely they’ll come back in the future! When you work out, amazing things happen, like neural growth and reduced inflammation in the brain that lowers stress levels and stimulates a feeling of inner peace. Exercise can also be used as a form of distraction to break away from negative thought patterns associated with depression.
  3. Stress – It can be detrimental to your health in more ways than one. From tense muscles and neck/shoulder pain to pounding pulse or gut problems. Long-term stress can manifest in our bodies physically as aches and illnesses. Movement is a very good way of tackling it. It might seem hard at first to get motivated, but taking care of yourself is key. Managing the psychological side effects could help you have better physical health. Exercise is your key to feeling happier and being healthier! Regular physical activity can help you get rid of stress. Plus, when the body relaxes, it sends positive signals to the mind – creating a winning combination for improving your mood, which is key to a low-stress or stress-free life.

Other mental health benefits

Regardless of what mental health challenges you are facing, regular exercising offers an overall improvement on the quality of your life, with the improvement of mood and mental well-being. It benefits everyone!

Other mental health benefits of regular exercising:

  • Better focus – Exercising creates endorphins in our brains. They are known as the happiness hormone, but did you know that they also help you concentrate better and be mentally sharp? Working out plays a big role in stimulating the growth of new brain cells which is beneficial for memory and focus.
  • Quality sleep – Physical activity helps regulate sleep patterns. A relaxing exercise, like stretching or yoga,  before bed can help you have better and higher quality sleep.
  • Mental resilience – Regular exercising can be very helpful for dealing with challenging days. It builds mental resilience and helps you navigate them in a healthy way.

Are you struggling to find time for your daily workout?

Don’t overthink it, even a small amount of time spent being active is better than none. Be it jogging, stretching or walking – all the physical and mental health benefits of exercise can be experienced in just 30 minutes, 3 – 5 days a week. 

Remember, even a little bit of activity is better than none. Exercise doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. Start small if that’s where you’re comfortable and build on it, by making exercise part of your daily routine. Soon enough, staying consistent with physical activity will turn it into a lifestyle and bring all the great benefits along with it. 

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