The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Exercise benefits all your body parts; it builds muscle, improves fitness, and helps with weight loss, but how aware are you aware of the mental health benefits of exercise? 

Exercise has been proven to boost your mood, reduce your stress levels, improve depression and anxiety, and even benefit your sleep. Regular exercise can add years to your life, reduce your waistline and make you feel better about yourself. Let’s look at the science. 

Maybe you feel too tired to sign up for the gym, have may feel like you don’t have the energy to get through the day (never mind exercise), or maybe you feel too far gone to pick up a new exercise routine? The truth is, as soon as you start exercising, your body kicks in and starts producing powerful substances that make you happy, called endorphins. 

Let’s take a look at some of the mental health benefits of exercise:

Helps Depression and Anxiety

Exercise is powerful medicine. The peer-reviewed large TREAD study into depression and anxiety has found that exercise should be used as a treatment option for depression. This is a pretty major finding. Exercise has a profound positive effect on our mental health and lifts our mood substantially. So, while you may not feel motivated every time you exercise, rest in the confidence that you will feel better afterwards. 

Exercise will reduce feelings of anxiety. It relieves tension and stress. If you suffer from tension headaches or backaches, join the gym and ask your PT to set up a gentle, targeted exercise routine specifically for those areas. Add gentle stretches and daily walks to your life, and you should feel the difference pretty quickly. 

Helps the brain focus

Exercise will help your brain focus and concentrate. It’s a highly effective treatment to improve concentration and memory during study or work (including regular movement breaks). Exercise reliably boosts the brain hormones dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin, all of which have a positive effect on brain performance. This is true not just in young people but right through the ages, exercise reduces age-related memory decline. 

Improves Sleep

Exercise makes you tired. This will improve sleep, which will improve your mental health and your ability to exercise more. It’s a positive feedback loop. 

Exercise makes you feel better about yourself. You should be proud of yourself after completing your exercise routine every time. A positive mental attitude to your training, whether you performed well or felt tired, will improve your next session and will make you feel good about yourself throughout the day. Regular investment in your physical and mental health builds self-confidence and positive feelings. Ask your PT to set small exercise goals so you can continue to be proud of yourself as you reach these.  

Conclusion

How can exercise achieve all these wonderful benefits for you? Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise 3-5 times per week will achieve significant results. If you don’t have 30 minutes or if that feels too long for you, break it down into 10-15 minute sessions throughout the day and week. Speak to the excellent PTs at GymPlus for the exercise routine that suits you best. 

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