Linking Exercise And Mental Health

Exercise is proven to enhance physical health, but can working out improve mental health as well? In a survey of 1.2 million Americans, persons who exercised had 1.5 fewer days of poor mental health per month. Additionally, doctors recommend exercise as a holistic treatment for mild to moderate depression. Studies found that a simple 15-minute walk reduces the risk of major depression by 26%. Physical activity is underutilized as a tool to improve mental health. But what makes training so powerful?

center for family medicine Your Mental Health How Exercise Can Improve Your Mood

An endorphin boost

Endorphins are one of the feel-good hormones. Along with dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin, endorphins provide a rush of pleasure and happiness. To activate massive amounts of endorphins, try some physical activity. The degree of the hormone varies by physical activity. Exercise also increases energy, brain functions, and alertness due to the connection with endorphins.

Exercise the stress away

Experience reduced stress levels due to increased blood circulation to the brain. Exercise also decreases cortisol, which causes tiredness, weight gain, and reduced brain function in large quantities. Persons who exercise improve well-being by feeling a sense of calm and peace throughout the day.

Social benefits affect your mood too

Regular exercise increases confidence and low self-esteem. The physical results can be addictive. Training brings a sense of community, connecting with similar persons in the same activity. This can help with any social withdrawal and depression. These benefits, when used properly, can significantly impact individual mood and well-being.

A little goes a long way

Start with as little as 10 minutes of exercise daily. This can be as simple as walking home or to a local park. Whichever is convenient and easily accessible, small amounts of activity go a long way. As time goes by, slowly increase the routine and intensity. Schedule a workout time, then create a schedule that fits work, school, and family. Try to choose a timeframe that is most convenient.

Don’t forget to have fun!

Exercise does not have to be a chore. Find an activity that is enjoyable and easy to maintain. Research activities before beginning, looking for things that have a minor impact on the joints. Try taking up tennis, dance, aerobics, or swimming.

Get moving and boost your mood today

Exercise improves overall mental well-being by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative moods. This continues through cultivating self-esteem and cognitive functions. Life can get in the way of starting a new routine. The goal is to start small and have fun. The benefits of exercise are, in essence, a form of psychotherapy. Speak with a doctor for a full health check before starting or increasing physical activity.