6 Ways Exercise Can Benefit Mental Wellness

by Finnegan Pierson,
Contributing Author, Conscious Reminder

If you add some exercise into your routine, you will likely see many physical gains. However, many people fail to realize that regular physical activity can greatly benefit mental health as well. Here are six ways that an exercise routine can positively affect your mental wellbeing.

:: Decreased Stress

Exercise is a proven stress reliever. It increases the production of chemicals in your brain that can assist you in processing stressful events as well as benefiting your overall cognition. The more regularly you exercise, the better your body’s central and sympathetic nervous systems function together. Physical activity also prompts your brain to release endorphins that act as feel-good transmitters for your brain. No matter the activity you choose to do, you will reap these benefits. Research that in ground pool cost, spring for that elliptical, or just start walking or running outside and you’ll start to feel the stress lifting off your shoulders.

:: Reduced Anxiety

Getting active can greatly reduce your anxiety symptoms. Those same stress-relieving endorphins can calm your nerves and help pull you back up. To really get the anxiety-relief benefits, be mindful and focused while you’re working out. Notice how your body feels as it moves, the rhythm of your breathing, sensations on your skin and any other physical feelings you have. This will help remove you from your intrusive thoughts and worries. Exercise can also help loosen your muscles and regulate your breathing.

If you feel anxiety building, take a brisk walk or do a few jumping jacks to start feeling those endorphins kick in. Starting a regular routine of physical activity will help you keep those feelings flowing and make it easier to control the anxiety symptoms you encounter.

:: Fewer Depression Symptoms

According to many studies, exercise can be almost as helpful as medications in treating mild to moderate depression. Regular activity can have numerous positive effects on your brain, including creating new neural activity patterns that can help you feel more positive and serene. Exercise can also act as a distraction from distress, allowing you to focus on your physical body for a period of time. This may help you break the cycle of negative thoughts that you experience with depression.

:: Increased Confidence

Increasing your confidence can have lots of positive impacts on your overall well-being. A regular fitness routine combined with other life changes can transform your entire life and bring you a level of confidence you didn’t know was possible. You’ll feel better in your body and clothes, approach social situations with less anxiety and feel stronger both physically and mentally. Set some workout goals for yourself and when you begin to crush them one by one, you’ll feel your self-esteem climb higher and higher.

:: Less Mental Fog

As you age, your brain begins to lose neurons and gray matter, affecting your memory and cognition.

With regular cardio, your heart rate and blood flow increase and become more efficient. This helps your brain to create new neurons which can lead to better brain function overall. Studies have also shown that increased oxygen intake that occurs during exercise is strongly associated with an increase in gray matter.

:: Easier Sleep

Often people who experience insomnia or trouble staying asleep see vast improvements when they adopt an exercise regimen. The amount of time it takes to fall asleep decreases and they experience a deeper, more restful sleep. Increasing your overall fitness level and losing weight can also drastically reduce the risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea, which results in extremely disruptive sleep patterns as well as many health risks. Combined with the other positive impacts of reduced stress and anxiety, getting physical during the day can help you get a much better night of rest.

Getting healthy isn’t just about your physical body. Staying mentally healthy should be a priority in anyone’s life and exercise is a great way to get there. Add some activity into your life to give your overall health a boost.

About the Author: Finnegan Pierson is an avid outdoor enthusiast and freelance writer. He enjoys writing about sustainability, eco-friendly behaviors, and local travel. He loves to meditate, and spend time with his family.

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