10 Ways Working Out Improves Mental Health
Most people focus on physical fitness to improve cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles, and obviously, to get a fabulous body, but working out has above-the-neck benefits, too. For the past few decades, scientists have analyzed how working out can boost brain function. Studies confirm that giving time for exercise presents many mental benefits regardless of age or fitness level (yeah, it includes everyone from mall-walkers to marathoners). Get motivated to work out by reading up on these unexpected ways that exercise can benefit mental health relationships, and lead to a healthier and happier life.
1. Reduce Stress
You had a rough day at the office. What would you do? Well, we suggest head to the gym for a quick workout. Working up a sweat assist in managing physical and mental stress. Exercise also raises levels of norepinephrine in the body, a biochemical compound that check the brain’s response to stress. So, go ahead and get sweaty — working out is always a win-win situation. As it reduces stress as well as boosts the body’s capacity to handle existing mental tension.
2. Boost Happy Chemicals
Running for hours on the mill can be tough, but it’s worth the trouble! Working out release’s endorphins in the body, which generate feelings of happiness and euphoria. Many studies have demonstrated that exercise can even relieve symptoms among clinically depressed patients. For the same reason, doctors suggest that people experiencing depression or anxiety (also those who are just feeling blue) should focus on their physical fitness. In fact, in some cases, exercise proves even more effective than anti-depressants medicines. Don’t worry if you are not exactly a gym person, even working out for just 30 mins several times a week can boost your mood tremendously.
3. Enhance Self-Esteem
Hop on the treadmill to look good and, more importantly, to feel like a million bucks. That’s right! Physical fitness boost self-confidence and creates a positive self-image. It actually makes you feel attractive, regardless of weight, size, gender, or age.
4. Prevent Cognitive Decline
It is unpleasant, but it is the harsh reality of life. As we age, our brain gets little hazy. Aging and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s kill brain cells resulting in loss of essential brain functions in the process. Though working out and following a healthy diet can’t cure such diseases, they can definitely reinforce the brain against cognitive decline. Focusing on physical fitness, especially between the age of 25 and 45, boosts the brain’s chemicals that support and prevent degeneration of the hippocampus, which is vital for learning and memorizing.
5. Alleviate Anxiety
What you think is better at easing anxiety — a warm bubble bath or a 20-minute jog? The answer might surprise you. The warm and fuzzy chemicals released during and after work out help people with anxiety disorders. Any moderate-to-high intensity exercise can lessen anxiety sensitivity.
6. Improve Brainpower
Different studies on mice and men have indicated that cardiovascular exercise can develop new brain cells (yes! we are talking about neurogenesis) and also enhance overall brain performance. They also suggest that a well-planned exercise regime increases brain-derived protein levels in the body, improving decision-making, higher thinking, and learning ability (Means beauty with the brain).
7. Sharpen Memory
Regular physical exercise expands memory and improves the capability to learn new things. Working out boosts the production of cells in the hippocampus responsible for memory and learning. For the same reason, children’s brain development is linked to the level of physical fitness. And this applies not only to children but also right for grown-ups too.
If you are not able to think “outside the box,” better take a long run or do some strength training exercises. Well, though, the suggestion may seem odd, but it definitely works. As various studies have shown that physical activity boosts creative thinking. So, a quick workout session should be enough to beat whatever creative block is in your way.
9. Relieve Symptoms of Depression
Depression is usually treated with anti-depressants pills, counseling, and many times both. Although these treatment methods proved effective for most of the population, according to a study published in Psychosomatic Medicine, exercise is also proven to be just as effective as anti-depressants in treating depression. Including workout in treating depression offers a low cost and stigma-free way to feel better instantly.
10. Exercise Can Provide Social Support
Surely, workout buddies help in achieving your fitness goal faster, but there are other benefits too. Exercising with friends creates a sense of belongingness, and it undoubtedly dispels any feelings of loneliness, which can really weigh on the mind and body. So, next time you decide to work out, take your best buddy with you or opt for a gym with a wonderful community to reap all the benefits of doing exercise and not just the physical ones.
It is clear that working out has positive effects that go far beyond the physical ones. Next time, when you find yourself fixated on the thought of starting to work out, don’t do it just for that attractive beach body. Instead, think of all the physical and mental health benefits you are going to get. After all, a smarter hunk is always better than a dumb one.