Most people are well acquainted with the physical benefits of exercise like weight control, reducing the risk of diabetes, and building muscle tone – just to name a few.
But what about the benefits of exercise for mental health?
The mind and body are closely connected, so it makes sense that when you take care of one, you’re taking care of the other too. Now there are also scientific studies to back this up.
Even simple exercise and physical activity can produce these benefits. It doesn’t have to be a vigorous workout to reap the mental health benefits of exercise.
As long as you get moving, you’ll see the benefits of physical activity including easing symptoms of anxiety and giving a boost to your memory.
In fact many exercises, that provide health benefits ,don’t require special equipment at all.
In this blog we will discuss the different benefits of exercises for your mental health that can help you overcome the mental hardships of 2021!
Relieves Stress & Anxiety
One of the biggest mental health benefits is that regular exercise decreases your body’s sensitivity to anxiety and stress.
Think about how your body feels when anxious feelings start to build up. Your muscles tense, a tight feeling develops in your chest, and your neck and shoulders start to ache painfully.
- Exercise and physical activity has even been shown to decrease the frequency and intensity of panic attacks.
- Physical activity can help relieve tension and loosen the muscles in your body due to the release of endorphins that occurs during exercise. Endorphins are the “feel good” chemicals in your brain that produce feelings of well-being and happiness. They also help boost your mood and make you feel more relaxed.
- Increasing your heart rate through aerobic exercise can actually help reduce stress-induced conditions like brain fog and irritability. This occurs because physical activity stimulates the production of endorphins in the brain and forces the body’s central and sympathetic nervous systems to communicate.
Both of these help your body adapt to stress and improve your responses to it, which leaves you feeling fewer physical sensations of anxiety, as well as improving cognition and mood.
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Help for Depression Symptoms
Exercise can’t treat mental illness, but it does benefit people with mental health issues. The benefits of exercise and physical activity on depression has been scientifically proven.
- As mentioned, regular exercise throughout the week boosts endorphin levels and improves symptoms of depression. The effect is so pronounced that some doctors suggest trying an exercise routine before prescribing medication for these conditions.
- Exercise can improve mild to moderate depression not only by releasing endorphins, but also by helping reduce the impact of intrusive thoughts and circular thought patterns of worrying.
- Furthermore, exercise improves neural growth within the brain and reduces inflammation there while forming new activity patterns. These improved neural maps help keep your head clear when depression might typically bog down your mind, making it difficult to focus.
- And, if nothing else, regular physical activity can serve as a distraction, giving you a break from the troubles of depression. It can help you break the negative cycles that depression tends to drag people into.
For people with ADHD, regular exercise can help expend excess energy and keeps their minds focused on one specific goal, in addition to improving memory and mood.
In addition to endorphins, the brain also releases the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These neurotransmitters all play a role in boosting focus and paying attention, which allows you to concentrate better.
In addition to improved focus, better mood, and reduced stress symptoms, regular exercise in the morning or afternoon can help you regulate your sleep schedule.
- By expending excess energy, it’s much easier for your body to feel ready to sleep at the end of the day. Exercise can help raise your body temperature, calming the mind, which leads to better sleep patterns and less tossing and turning.
- If you have to exercise at night, try using yoga or gentle stretching so you don’t feel too invigorated or extra alert right before bed. If your mind isn’t buzzing with activity, it’s easier to drift off to sleep.
- Exercise also helps regulate circadian rhythms – the internal clock that controls when you feel tired at night and alert in the morning.
How does exercise improve self-esteem? Exercise helps reduce stress hormones like cortisol. Research shows that long-term exposure to cortisol can result in physical changes like weight gain, but can also lead to mental health issues like memory impairment, anxiety, depression, and sleep problems.
- So in addition to promoting weight loss and a healthy lifestyle, exercise can improve the other issues as well as, which improves how you feel about yourself.
- We’ve already mentioned that regular physical activity produces endorphins in the brain and that physical activity reduces intrusive thoughts and negative cycles of self-talk.
- Combined with reducing cortisol levels, these effects alone help improve self-confidence.
- On top of these, though, you have the pride of forming a regular habit of exercise as well as helping you feel better about your appearance.
Enjoy the Benefits of Exercise!
While the benefits – both physical and psychological – of exercise happen whether you work out in a gym or at home, there are additional perks to exercising at a gym.
Health clubs provide opportunities for people to socialize and find a sense of community and belonging. Circuit Fitness LV is proud of our ties to the neighborhood!
Whether you work out with a personal trainer or not, you’re bound to see familiar faces, which reduces feelings of isolation. Take the first step with a free day pass and see what we’re all about!
Check out our other blog, If you want to learn more about how beginners should use gym equipment!