Exercise is known to be one of the practices that most doctors or anyone will recommend in tough times. We all know about the physical benefits but often we overlook the mental aspect. Working out not only shapes the body and makes you healthy but there are also many mental benefits attributed to it. Here are five mental benefits of exercise:
- Decrease in Stress Levels
Stress is a burden many of us carry and it can translate negatively into our lives and overall happiness. Exercise forces the bodies central and sympathetic nervous systems to communicate with each other. Consequentially we see a rise in the body’s overall ability to respond to stress. Additional increases in heart rate lead to reductions in stress-induced brain damage by improving the production of hormones within the brain. This, in turn, allows for improvement in overall mood, cognition and the ability to think during stressful events.
- Enhanced Sleep
Something often neglected but vital to our function is sleep and its importance cannot be stressed enough. Exercise leads to an increase in body heat, which translates into calming effects on the mind and further into providing a better sleep. It allows you to regulate your circadian rhythm which is your bodies’ alarm clock that controls when you feel tired or awake. However, it is recommended to not workout close to your bed time as this can result in wakefulness right after.
- Boost in Brain function
Exercise can also lead to better memory and improvements in intelligence through a process known as neurogenesis. In a study done on mice, it was concluded that cardiovascular exercise led to new brain cells and improvements in overall brain function. The hippocampus, which is responsible for the brains memory, and learning is also strengthened through exercise. Lastly, studies also prove that working out boosts creativity and mental energy.
- Reduction in Depression and Anxiety
Physical activity is proven by scientific studies to be a mood elevator, as it can decrease anxiety and depression. This is due to the spike of feel-good chemicals in your body after exercising which make you feel euphoric and happy. This chemical is known as endorphins and is the reason why many medical professionals recommend a workout regime prior to treating these conditions with medication. Start exercising and you may find yourself feeling much happier.
- Higher Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence
It’s no secret that one of the biggest reasons many people choose to workout is the physical benefits attributed to the activity. Whether it is losing weight, gaining muscle or improving stamina, these all contribute to a big boost in self-esteem and confidence. Think about it, would it not feel amazing when you start hearing people around you say you lost weight or your arms are looking big? These compliments are often what we chase and they often happen before you even notice it yourself.
If you are not already implementing exercise into your daily lifestyle it is time for a change, not just for your body but for all the benefits to your brain it provides. It can be as little as a brisk walk or anything that will raise your heart rate. Get to the physical activity and be sure to see the changes in your mind that come as a result.