There are a lot of extremely impressive mental health benefits of exercise you should know about. Even though you just wanted to have a fit body when you first started to exercise, there are a lot of studies which show that this pleasant activity significantly improves your mental health too. Of course, you will build muscle and improve your cardiovascular health, but at the same time, you will feel more relaxed, more energized, you will learn how to think more positively and you will feel less stressed. By working out on a regular basis you will lead a happier and healthier life and you will learn how to cultivate stronger and closer relationships with your loved ones. Even though you are extremely busy and think that you haven’t got any time left for exercise in your schedule, try to find a way to fit exercise into your day. You’ll be more active, improve your focus and increase your productivity, since this is the perfect way for maintaining a good emotional health. Here are a few pretty amazing mental health benefits of exercise that you should consider if your goal is to live a happy, fulfilled and meaningful life:
1. You Will Think More Positively
One of the most impressive mental health benefits of exercise is the fact that it helps you think more positively. I’m sure you’ve all head of the “runner’s high,” which is a state of euphoria that can take hold of your body during a long run. This happens because while you’re exercising, your brain releases feel-good endorphins. Because of this, you will see things more clearly and think more positively. Basically, it will be easier for you to see the glass as half-full.
2. It Reduces Anxiety and Depression
By exercising on a regular basis, you will decrease your stress levels and you will even be able to reduce anxiety and depression. A lot of studies have shown that exercise is actually much more efficient than a lot of the antidepressants that are on the market nowadays, and apparently “one vigorous exercise session can help alleviate symptoms for hours, and a regular schedule may significantly reduce them over time.”
3. It Boosts Your Creativity
Are you looking for the perfect solution for a problem, but no matter how hard you try and think about it, you just can’t seem to find an answer that will satisfy you? Well, look no further. Just go for a run, a long walk in the park or even hit the gym and I’m sure that you will solve that problem in no time. Exercising actually helps you think outside the box and a lot of studies have shown that it can significantly improve your creativity for up to two hours after a training session. So, what are you waiting for? Just go and enjoy those wonderful benefits!
4. It Improves Your Memory
Dr. John Ratey, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain,” says that “exercise is one of the best ways to prevent cognitive decline as we age”. Apparently, it helps the release of a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), “a chemical that rewires your memory circuits so they can work together more effectively.” There are a lot of studies which show that your memory will significantly improve if you have at least five 30-minute moderate workouts per week. This is the best way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline, so why not give it a try?
5. It Improves the Quality of Your Sleep
Regular exercise will help you sleep better and you will also be able to fall asleep faster. Make sure you don’t exercise for at least 3 hours before you go to bed because your goal is to feel relaxed, calmer and sleepy, and not energized and refreshed. You won’t have any nightmares and you will feel more rested in the morning when you wake up.
6. It Helps You Control Addiction
A lot of studies have shown that exercising can help in addiction recovery by distracting drug or alcohol addicts, making them “de-prioritize cravings.” For example, if you recently quit smoking or you’re on a diet and you’re trying to eat healthier, every time you feel the urge to light up a cigarette or to eat something that you will later regret, try going for a run or a short walk. You could even do 15 minutes of aerobics and you’ll see that shortly, that urge will disappear.
7. It Improves Self-Confidence
What better way to improve your self-confidence and increase your self-esteem than by exercising for at least 30 minutes every day? You will build muscle, you will lose fat, you will feel happier, you will think more positively and you will improve your self-image. There are a lot of studies which have shown that “regardless of weight, size, gender, or age, exercise can quickly elevate a person's perception of his or her attractiveness, that is, self-worth.”
Working out on a regular basis can bring you a lot of benefits and I’m sure some of them will really surprise you in a pleasant way. You will gain self-confidence, you will feel amazing and you will improve your cognitive abilities. Who wouldn’t want that? Do you know any other unexpected mental health benefits of exercise? Please tell us about them in the comments section!