We know that exercise is good for the body, and while the benefits of regular exercise on our overall physical health are widely known, not many realize how to reap its benefits to improve mental health.
The physical and mental health benefits of exercise
People who exercise regularly do it for several reasons. Some to improve physical health and physique; others to shed some extra pounds. Most people work out because of how good it makes them feel. The energy, motivation, or incredible positivity from exercising is unparalleled. As one of the most powerful tools to boost moods, exercise helps reduce depression, anxiety, ADHD, and stress.
Staying active during COVID-19
Social distancing and self-quarantining have restricted our ability to exercise in gyms and other group settings, but the importance of keeping physically active remains, now more than ever. Intense physical activity can be daunting to some. However, research shows how even modest exercise routines can positively impact a person’s well-being.
You do not need to be living in the gym or running a marathon to reap the benefits. During these challenging times, many people have turned to at-home workouts from the famous Peloton bikes and treadmills, to YouTube videos, to walk around the block. As a coping mechanism, exercising is one of the most effective methods for dealing with stress – particularly as each of us battles our respective personal and professional challenges.
Exercise to help depression
Research indicates that exercise effectively treats moderate depression with none of the side -effects of medication. It releases endorphins to energize spirits and activates parts of the brain responsible for feelings of calm and well-being. Even though the global health crisis is far from over, exercising can bring that elusive feel-good factor into our daily lives.
Exercise to alleviate stress and anxiety
If extended periods of staying at home make you anxious, nothing can compare to exercise for relieving stress and anxiety. Focusing on your body’s movements or regulating your breathing as you work out allows you to slow down. Being mindful of your body extends to your mind, helping to calm the flows of worry and anxiety you might be experiencing.
Exercise to help concentration
When working remotely, the risk of losing focus can be high, with so many distractions around. Exercising enhances memory and concentration. Physical activity boosts the brain’s serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine levels – all of which help our focus and attention. Exercise keeps you mentally sharp for the tasks at hand. It also stimulates the growth of new brain cells and prevents age-related decline.
Each day brings a new opportunity to try incorporate fitness into your daily routine. Not only does working out aid better sleep and boost energy levels, but it also has fantastic short and long-term health benefits.