Participate in Physical Exercise
You already know that exercise is good for your body. But did you know it is also effective in dealing with depression, anxiety, stress and more?
What are the mental health benefits of exercise?
Exercise is just not about aerobic capacity and muscle-size. Sure, exercise can improve your physical health and your physique, trim your waistline, improve your sex life and even add years to your life. But that is not what motivates most people to stay active.
People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. Also, its powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges.
Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better and boosts your overall mood. And you do not have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits.
Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to feel better.
Exercise and Depression
Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication – but without the side – effects of course.
As one example, a recent study done by the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%. In addition to relieving depression symptoms, research also shows that maintaining an exercise schedule can prevent you from relapsing.
Exercise is a powerful depression fighter for several reasons. Most importantly it promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energise your spirits and make you feel good. Finally, exercise can also serve as distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.
Exercise and Anxiety
Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. It relieves tension, boosts physical and mental energy and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins. Anything that gets you moving can help, but you will get a bigger benefit if you pay attention instead of zoning out.
Try to notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the wind on your skin. By adding this mindfulness element – really focusing on your body and how it feels as you exercise – you’ll not only improve your physical condition faster, but you may also be able to interrupt the flow of constant worries running through your head.
Exercise and stress.
Ever noticed how your body feels when you are under stress? Your muscles may be tense, especially in your face, neck and shoulders leaving you with back or neck pain, or painful headaches. You may feel a tightness in your chest, a pounding pulse, or muscle cramps. You may also experience problems such as insomnia, heartburn, stomach-ache, diarrhea or frequent urination.
The worry and discomfort of all these physical symptoms can in turn lead to even more stress, creating a vicious cycle between your mind and body.
Exercise is an effective way to break this cycle.
As well as releasing endorphins in the brain physical activity helps to relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body. Since the body and mind are so closely linked. When your body feels better so too will your mind.