Mental health benefits of exercise

We all know that working out and exercising has a positive impact on our wellbeing physically…Physical activity can boost endurance, flexibility, help you build muscle and lose weight. However, partaking in regular exercise isn’t just good for our physical appearance it is also extremely beneficial for ones mental wellbeing as well. In fact, not being active enough can increase risks of becoming less focused, more anxious or experience feelings of depression. There is much research indicating the benefits that exercise can have on our mental health and we have summed up some of the key points that will hopefully inspire you to get moving more regularly to not only benefit your physical state, but your psychological state of mind too… We’ve summed up some key psychological benefits of getting a workout into your daily or weekly routine.

Work out to reduce stress and anxiety

 Had a mentally challenging day in the office? Mental and emotional health can be improved through exercise as research suggests getting sweaty and having a good workout can assist in alleviating anxiety and reducing levels of stress. When we start to exercise our body, we increase levels of a chemical called norepinephrine which helps control our brains reaction to stress. Furthermore, research suggests that regular workouts and physical activity can be as effective as treating mild depression as antidepressants or cognitive behavioural therapy. Therefore, getting your body all worked up will actually tackle help tackle any unwanted, negative feelings. So get moving to lower those negative feelings hanging around in the brain.

stress relief

Tap into your creative side and boost productivity levels

The most common reason for skipping a workout is because we can’t be bothered right? You’ve had a long day or you would rather stay in bed for an extra hour of asleep. However, getting up and exercising actually gets the brain and body feeling more energised and more productive. Research shows that individuals who are regularly physically active, report having more energy and feel more productive throughout the day, particularly when working out first thing in the morning. If you find it difficult to find time to workout- try getting out for a brisk walk on your lunch break and see if you start getting more work done in the afternoon; or even better, get up half an hour earlier and get some cardio in before you sit at an office desk all day. Even a quick burst of 10 minutes exercise can increase the brains mental alertness.

Boosts brain chemicals and helps improve your memory

When we start exercising we start to release endorphins- a chemical that creates feelings of euphoria. Studies have reported that this is also associated with lowering symptoms of depression and boosting your overall mood and cognitive state. Cardiovascular activity has also been shown to increase levels of brain-derived protein which can assist in boosting chemicals in the brain to help make decisions, think more clearly and take in information more easily. Additionally, working up a sweat increases cell production in the hippocampus, which is in charge of learning and remembering information therefore boosting brain activity and keeping your memory nice and sharp. So try and get in 20 minutes of cardio everyday to keep your psychological state on point.

improve memory

Improve your self-esteem 

Exercise can improve mental health as it not only makes you look good, but it makes you feel good too. Getting a regular workout into your week boosts your feelings or self-worth regardless of your size or weight. This has been found across both males and females, ranging from children, adolescents, adults and older adults. When you get into the habit of setting aside time to train or workout even just 3 or 4 times a week, you will start feeling a sense of achievement and accumulate a more positive self image of yourself. Try working out with a friend to make it feel more like a social activity, and you’ll probably find yourself enjoying it more, whilst enhancing your cognitive state.

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