7 Ways Working Out Can Help Improve Your Mental Health
- Mental health refers to an individual’s state of mind or being, and it varies greatly from person to person.
- For some people, mental health can be greatly improved through working out, whether it’s exercising on a regular basis or taking part in physical activities like yoga or swimming.
- If you’re interested in improving your mental health, here are seven ways working out can help.
1) Exercise promotes brain cell growth
Moderate to vigorous physical activity increases production of new brain cells (neurogenesis), which is critical for mental health.
Research also shows that exercise boosts levels of certain neurotransmitters in your brain, including norepinephrine and serotonin, which contribute to positive moods
Exercise can also have a positive impact on anxiety and depression symptoms by helping you feel less stressed out.
When people are overwhelmed with stress, they tend to stop exercising, says John J. Ratey, MD, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of Spark:
The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. But it’s important to recognize that just 30 minutes a day can make a huge difference in how you feel physically and mentally.
2) Exercise reduces anxiety
Regular exercise provides a myriad of health benefits that can improve your overall well-being. But research has shown that exercise also reduces anxiety and depression levels in people who have been diagnosed with mental health conditions.
Exercise also makes people feel good—it releases endorphins, which are hormones that make you feel happy, boosting your mood and alleviating stress.As a result, it’s common for people to be more productive at work after hitting the gym.
A study conducted by researchers at Duke University found that participants who exercised felt less stressed and performed better on cognitive tests than those who did not exercise after being assigned stressful tasks. The positive impact of working out on mental health can be beneficial in many different ways.
3) Exercise makes you happy
Everyone knows exercise is good for your body, but it’s also great for your brain. Exercise can help people suffering from depression and anxiety by improving self-esteem and overall mood.
It’s even been shown to be effective in preventing and treating these disorders—the key is to find a type of exercise you love enough to do regularly.
When you like what you’re doing, it won’t feel like work at all! So pick something that works for you: Dancing? Swimming? Running? Zumba? (Seriously, zumba is amazing.)
The only rule here is that you need to move your body. There are plenty of resources out there that will help you get started—and moving your body feels so good!
4) Exercise combats depression
Exercise is a proven treatment for mild to moderate depression. Researchers believe that exercise works by releasing chemicals in your brain called endorphins, which play a key role in regulating mood and response to stress.
If you are feeling down or experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider about how much exercise is right for you.
For example, people who have depression should not stop taking their medication when beginning an exercise program; instead, they should consult with their physician and/or therapist on how best to proceed.
A good way to think about it: Just because you’re exercising doesn’t mean that your medications don’t matter anymore—in fact, some people feel even better when both are combined correctly!
5) Exercise increases energy levels
Don’t mistake tiredness for depression. Lack of energy and motivation is a common symptom of depression, so it’s important to differentiate between fatigue caused by exercise and fatigue that comes from other causes, such as depression.
By exercising regularly, you can increase your energy levels and stamina. For some people, even a few days or weeks of increased activity can boost their mood and help them feel more like themselves again.
If you exercise regularly, ask your doctor if they think it might be helpful to keep exercising while taking antidepressants as long as you feel physically able to do so safely.
Exercise improves sleep: Sleep is one of our most important biological functions; without it, we start to become sick very quickly.
6) Exercise improves memory
Exercise improves brain health, which can make your memory sharper and keep it from declining. Exercise also stimulates nerve growth factor, which helps create new neural pathways in your brain.
Plus, exercising increases blood flow to your brain by about 20 percent, which helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to brain cells so they can function optimally.
Consider these 12 other ways exercise benefits your mental health. And if you are looking for a way to get back into shape but need some help getting started, check out my popular guide:
How To Start Working Fitness For Beginners (It’s a FREE E-Book). You will be able to download it instantly upon completion of registration. Thanks!
7) Exercising releases endorphins
Endorphins are a type of neurotransmitter that trigger a positive feeling in your brain. When you exercise, they help to reduce stress and improve your mood.
Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly experience better mental health than those who don’t. Here are five things you can do for better mental health:
work out more, eat healthier foods, learn something new, help someone else and volunteer. Do one or all of these every day to increase your endorphin levels.
Exercise is a great way to get started on improving your mental health! If you want to start exercising but aren’t sure where to begin, take a look at some tips from an experienced personal trainer.
In today’s society it’s not uncommon for adults to suffer from depression and anxiety disorders; if left untreated these issues can quickly become debilitating.If you’re struggling with depression or anxiety yourself, getting treatment as soon as possible is key.
There are many options available when it comes to treating both disorders—from traditional medicine (like antidepressants) to holistic remedies (like meditation).
Regardless of which treatment methods appeal most to you, working with a therapist trained in helping individuals deal with depression and anxiety will give you access to tools that could make coping easier—and may even help prevent future bouts of either disorder altogether.