Only about one in five adults get enough exercise to remain healthy. With many people stuck at home under quarantine, maintaining your health is more important now than ever.
If you’re not getting the recommended 150 minutes of aerobic activity every week, your mental and physical health could suffer for it.
By getting enough physical activity each day, you could also improve your mental health. Not convinced?
Keep reading to learn how routine exercise can boost mental health!
1. Reduces Stress
The body’s stress hormone cortisol is like an alarm system for your brain. It helps control your fear, motivation, and mood. Cortisol is also responsible for:
- Managing how you use protein, fats, and carbs
- Minimizing inflammation
- Regulating blood pressure
- Increasing blood sugar levels
- Controlling your sleep
- Boosting your energy levels
Too much cortisol, however, can lead to health problems like anxiety and depression. You could also:
- Gain weight
- Have trouble sleeping
- Experience headaches
- Have issues concentrating
- Experience digestion issues
- Notice memory issues
- Increase your risk of heart disease
Exercising can minimize your stress, boost mental health, and help you avoid these health conditions.
Otherwise, you could unintentionally let stress impact your mental and physical health. In fact, exercising is a great way to cope with your stress by boosting serotonin production. Meanwhile, it can also act as a distraction to help you avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as stress-eating.
Replacing stress-inducing behaviors can benefit your overall life. You’ll become fit and stronger, which can help you manage your stress.
Some people reach for drugs or alcohol to manage their stress instead. Unfortunately, those behaviors can have a negative impact on your health. With a weekly workout routine, you can manage your reactions to stress in a more beneficial way.
2. Improves Your Mood
Serotonin is only one of the neurotransmitters your body naturally produces through exercise. If you’re struggling with mental health issues, consider using exercise to improve your mood.
When you exercise, you’ll stimulate feel-good chemicals in your brain. These chemicals can boost mental health and reduce depression symptoms.
Have you ever experienced a “runner’s high?” When your heart starts pumping, your body will release a neurotransmitter called endorphins. Endorphines can also improve your mood and help you fight mental health issues.
Endorphines are great for relieving pain and stress, too!
There are other neurotransmitters that can improve your mental health, including norepinephrine and dopamine. In addition to endorphins and serotonin, these neurotransmitters can all work together to improve your mood.
Otherwise, you might experience a serotonin deficiency.
People with a serotonin deficiency often experience anxiety symptoms and insomnia. A weekly workout routine can boost your serotonin production, which can help you:
- Heal from wounds
- Feel calm
- Maintain focus
- Feel happy
- Ease anxiety
- Maintain your bone health
- Maintain a strong appetite
- Reduce nausea
- Control bowel movements
Explore different options for cardio and see what gives you the best runner’s high!
3. Boosts Self-Confidence
A weekly workout routine can also improve your self-confidence and self-esteem. As you begin working out, your endurance will improve, too. Soon, you’ll start losing weight and building more muscle.
Improving your appearance can help you feel a sense of achievement. When you look in the mirror, you’ll feel more confident.
You can even update your wardrobe and climb a flight of stairs without feeling out of breath.
By working out, you can boost your mental health by building the self-confidence to handle any situation. Otherwise, anxiety could cause you to limit your own potential!
4. Helps You Sleep
Are you struggling to get enough sleep each night? Many people don’t realize that inadequate sleep can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health.
It’s important to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Otherwise, you might experience difficulty concentrating. Without enough sleep, you might also start gaining weight.
Inadequate sleep can also cause you to experience:
- Impaired alertness, problem-solving abilities, and attention
- Reduced sex drive
- Impaired judgment
- Skin issues
- Increased risk of accidents and injuries
Without enough sleep, your mental health could suffer. Exercising can help you fall asleep each night. By working out, you get getting your heart pumping during the day and exhaust yourself in the evening.
Working out also heats your body up. After a workout, you literally cool down. This cooling process will encourage your body to get the rest it needs to recover.
By exercising and getting enough sleep, you can give your mind and body time to heal.
5. Assists Brain Function
A weekly workout routine can also give our brain a boost!
For starters working out can boost your brain power by improving your memory. You’ll find it’s easier to learn after exercising, too.
In fact, cardiovascular exercise can help you generate new brain cells. This process is known as neurogenesis. By generating new brain cells, you’ll find it’s easier to maintain brain performance.
Otherwise, you might begin noticing a cognitive decline and memory loss as you get older.
If Alzheimer’s or other neurodegenerative diseases run in your family, get moving! Physical exercise will help protect your hippocampus, which is responsible for learning and memory capabilities.
Some studies indicate exercise can improve your creativity and mental abilities, too. The next time you need a source of inspiration, try working out beforehand.
6. Fights Anxiety and Depression
Major depressive order is the leading cause of disability in the US. Meanwhile, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the country.
By exercising, you can boost natural endorphin production, which will produce a feeling of happiness. By stimulating neurotransmitter production, you can improve our mood by reducing anxiety and depression symptoms!
Before working out, make sure to grab a water bottle to ensure you stay hydrated with ionized water. You can learn more about the benefits of ionized water before your next workout!
7. Encourages Socializing
The next time you plan on running around the neighborhood, invite friends or family members to join you. Exercising is a great excuse to socialize. Spending more time with family and friends can boost your mental health!
The next time you’re feeling down, call a friend. Try an exercise class together and get moving!
Mind Over Body: 7 Ways Exercise Can Boost Mental Health
Now that you know how exercise can boost mental health, get moving! By getting 150 minutes of exercise into your week, you can remain happy and healthy. A little exercise can go a long way to improving your mental and physical strength.
Get your blood pumping and boost your brainpower today!
Want to get happy and healthy? Explore our latest Mental Health articles for more helpful guides today.