The Benefits Of Exercise To Your Mental Health

We all know exercise proffers a multitude of benefits to one’s physical health. But did you know that exercise benefits one’s mental health in a lot of ways, too?

Well What, Exactly, Are These Benefits?

Like we previously mentioned, exercise doesn’t merely benefit the body (by getting one fit, healthy, and overall adding years to one’s life), but it also benefits the mind in a number of very surprising ways. Indeed, studies have shown that the more one exercises, the higher the degree one’s sense of self-worth becomes, and the greater one’s sense of well-being turns out to be in the long run. And, why shouldn’t it? After all, exercise gives one more energy throughout the day and makes one sharper, more relaxed, and more able to go through life’s challenges.

No matter what age you are in, and no matter where you are in life, you can always start making an investment in both your health and mental health by exercising. And, in this article, we’ve rounded up the ways in which exercise benefits one’s mental health, so read on!

On Depression

Longitudinal studies have been done on the benefits of exercise on depression. And what researchers have found is that exercise works just as well as antidepressant medication, less the many side effects.

One study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that it took only 15 minutes of running or an hour of walking for one to drastically reduce one’s risk of acquiring depression. Indeed, the risk is said to have been reduced by as much as 26% in the participants who’ve engaged in daily walks or have engaged in 15-minute daily runs. Not just that, the study also found that people who have just gone through depression can, to a huge degree, reduce their risk of relapsing into another depression by engaging in daily exercise alone.

Exercise, after all, promotes neural growth, reduces inflammation, and proffers feelings of calmness that overall help to safeguard against depression. Exercise also increases the body’s production of serotonin and endorphins, which are the hormones that regulate mood in the body. When our body has a good amount of these hormones, we tend to feel happy and content. So one can actually save on one’s credit card or medical bill and exercise instead.

On Anxiety

Research also shows that exercise is, to a huge degree, a natural remedy against anxiety. Again, this is because of the endorphins that our body produces during exercise that serves to regulate our mood. Studies have also shown that exercise has somewhat similar effects to meditation because of its ‘mindfulness’ element. This allows our minds to basically shut out the various anxiety-inducing thoughts that float in our minds on a regular basis.

On Stress

Exercise does wonders to combat stress. Physical activity, after all, has the positive effect of relieving tension in the body—or in the muscles, specifically—which in turn relieves stress. Endorphins, those happy hormones that our body releases while we exercise also have the effect of keeping us more upbeat and happy in the face of situations or circumstances that would normally cause us to immediately stress out.

On Self-Esteem

As we all know, exercise does wonders for one’s self-esteem. Indeed, physical fitness is inarguably one of the best investments you can make to bolster your own self-esteem. And studies show that exercise is strongly and positively correlated with better self-esteem. This self-esteem, of course, will foster in you a lasting sense of self-worth.

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