Physical activity not only provides physical benefits but mental health benefits as well. Mentally, regular exercise improves your mood and lessens long-term and short-term depression.
Physically, it lowers the risk of certain illnesses and improves bone and muscle strength. If you find it challenging to exercise daily, try incorporating it into your daily routine, such as using the stairs at the place of the elevator or performing calf raises while waiting in line. Doing exercise as a priority can decrease stress and maintain a very active lifestyle.
Engaging in regular physical activity can have a significant positive effect on conditions such as depression, ADHD, and anxiety. Additionally, it reduces stress, enhances memory, aids in better sleep, and elevates overall mood. You do not have to be an avid fitness enthusiast to experience these benefits.
Mental Health Benefits and Relation with Exercise
Exercise & depression
Research studies have demonstrated that regular physical activity can be as effective in treating subthreshold or dysthymic depression as taking the antidepressant medication without any side effects.
For instance, one study conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for fifteen minutes per day or walking for one hour can decrease the danger of high depression by twenty-six percent. Furthermore, research has shown that sticking to an exercise routine can also help prevent relapses.
Physical activity is an effective tool in combating depression for multiple reasons. Most importantly, it stimulates various changes in the brain, such as the growth of new neural connections, reduced swelling, and new patterns of activity that promote your feelings of serenity and well-being.
Additionally, it triggers the release of endorphins, very powerful chemicals in the brain that can elevate your mood and make you feel better.
Exercise & anxiety
Physical activity is a natural and efficient way to counter anxiety. It reduces stress and tension, increases mental and physical energy, and improves overall health by releasing endorphins.
Any movement can be beneficial, but focusing on the activity rather than letting your mind wander can provide greater results.
Aim to be aware of the feeling of feet connecting with the ground, the pattern of breathing, or the sensation of the air on your body’s skin. By incorporating mindfulness- paying attention to your body and how it feels during physical activity- you can improve your physical condition faster, and you may also be able to break the cycle of constant thoughts running through your mind.
Exercise & stress
Have you ever observed how your body reacts when you are under stress? Our muscles can be tense, particularly in our neck, face, and shoulders, resulting in back/neck pain or headaches. And you may experience tightness in the chest, an accelerated heartbeat, or muscle spasms.
Additionally, you may face issues such as heartburn, insomnia, diarrhea, stomachache, and frequent urination. The anxiety and discomfort of these symptoms can further increase stress, creating a cyclical relationship between your body and mind.
Regular physical activity is an efficient method to disrupt this cycle. Not only does it release endorphins in the brain, but it also helps to relax the muscles and ease tension in your body. As the mind and body are closely connected, your mind will follow suit when the body feels good.