There are many reasons why physical activity is good for your body, but did you know that physical activity is also beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing?
Exercise isn’t just about our cardio capabilities and muscle gain. Yes, it can improve your physical health and your physique but what motivates most of us to stay active? Well, people who regularly exercise tend to do so because it gives them a sense of overall better wellbeing. It can help us feel more energetic, improve sleep quality, and increase feelings of positivity. And it’s a great way to help combat many mental health challenges.
Keep reading to find out how exercise can affect your mental health and emotions.
Exercise can significantly improve your quality of sleep by reducing the time spent lying awake in bed at night. But how does better sleep impact your mental health? Well, poor sleep can increase the strength of negative emotions like worry, stress, and anxiety. Moderate to intense exercise in the morning or afternoon will help regulate your sleep pattern and in turn, help to reduce negative emotions.
Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem by meeting your exercise goals and feeling a sense of achievement. It is key for your mental health as high self-esteem will result in a person’s ability to recognise their good qualities and strive for a happier life. Anxiety, social phobias, depression, and substance abuse are all often associated with a person’s low self-esteem.
Exercise types like walking and yoga can help to promote mindfulness. This can help you reduce stress and manage difficult situations more productively. Aerobic workouts can also promote calming effects that can last for several hours after exercise. Physical activity increases the production of endorphins (also known as happy hormones) in your brain.
Exercise enhances brain connections, signaling pathways, and blood flow patterns. Also, it can reduce inflammation and rejuvenate brain cells. A recent study conducted at the University of British Columbia found that increasing the size of the hippocampus by exercising also helps to improve memory and thinking skills.
You don’t need to devote endless hours out of your day to working out, sweat buckets, or run for miles to get all the physical and mental health benefits of exercise. Just 30-minutes of moderate exercise five times a week is enough. And even that can be broken down into two 15-minute or even three 10-minute exercise sessions to make it easier!
We already know that endorphins make you feel good, but did you know they’re also responsible for helping you concentrate and memorizing! Exercise stimulates the growth of new brain cells and helps prevent against age-related decline.