The health benefits of exercise is no secret. It boosts cardiovascular health, increases strength and endurance, increases muscle size, and is instrumental in losing weight. But all these benefits are limited to the physical side of things.
Exercise also has a significant impact on the mental health of a person. These exercise benefits for mental health are often overlooked. In this guide, we’ll outline the various effects exercise can have on your mental health and how it can contribute to a life of health and wellbeing.
Benefit #1 – Reduces stress and tension
The effects of stress can become crippling if left unchecked, with the impacts not only affecting your mental health but your physical as well. Stress and tension can lead to greater mental concerns such as depression and anxiety. It can also lead to strained muscles, headaches and cramps.
Exercise can be a way for you to alleviate stress and let your mind unwind from the daily grind of life. It does this by releasing endorphins which boosts mood and gives you something to focus on, which helps your mind detach itself from your current stresses.
Benefit #2 – Manages anxiety
Anxiety is the feeling of fear or worry about an upcoming event, task or situation. Anxiety is a natural response to stress and since the two are closely related, exercise can have the very same beneficial effect.
Exercising regularly can help those who suffer from anxiety as it gives you a point of focus, prevents your mind from wandering and worrying and releases endorphins which improve your mood. These benefits are especially effective when the exercise is performed with clear and intense focus on the actual activity, such as focusing on your breathing or noticing your heart rate.
Benefit #3 – Helps treat depression
When talking about the exercise benefits for mental health you can’t skip it’s impact on depression. For those that show symptoms of depression, exercise can help you break free of its crippling and debilitating hold. Studies have shown that an increase of physical activity from inactive to three times a week resulted in a 20% decrease of the risk of depression. It’s enough reason to get you out of bed and moving!
By committing to a regular exercise routine you allow yourself to distract yourself from worries, increase the production of both feel good hormones such as endorphins and serotonin and improve self-image and self-esteem.
Benefit #4 – Improve self esteem
As we touched on in the previous points, regular exercise can help improve self-esteem and self-image. As you work to improve both your body and mind and commit to a habitual routine, you’ll find your sense of self worth increasing.
Feelings of strength, power and confidence are common after a great workout. This also reduces the risk of negative thoughts from entering your mind. Also, by accomplishing your exercise goals you can garner a sense of achievement which also does wonders for your mental wellbeing.
Benefit #5 – Creates social connections
Research shows that having close friends and keeping tight social connections with others can improve your mental health. In fact, those who enjoy close friendships have a lower rate of depression and anxiety. These connections provide support, help and a shoulder to lean on.
While exercise can be performed by yourself, including others when you workout can help build and foster these connections. Some examples include a gym workout partner or a group of friends to go hiking or running with. If you have no friends ready to exercise with you, joining a yoga exercise class or partaking in group aerobic exercise can help you meet new people.
Benefit #6 – Builds inner strength and resiliency
Just like how strength training builds muscle and strength, exercise does the same for your mind. Exercise builds inner strength, endurance and resilience. It’s a great way to cope with times of poor mental health, gives you a chance to bounce back from setbacks and celebrate moments of success. All these things culminate in a stronger mental state.
It’s hard to ignore the physical endurance you’ll build either. Exercise can improve your immune system, and makes your body stronger as a whole which reduces the physical effects of stress and anxiety.
Exercise your way out of poor mental health
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. This means that you should take the same steps in caring for your mind as you do your body. With these exercise benefits for mental health and physical health, you’re able to tackle two birds with one stone! Your body will feel stronger and more conditioned while your mental health will thrive, free of stress, anxiety and poor self worth.
Get out of bed, get your body moving now and enjoy the exercise benefits for mental health now – your body and mind will be thankful for it!
Exercising is a part of a life of wellbeing, a lifestyle that we at OSIM promote in everything we do. It’s why we created the OSIM Wellness Hub, a place where all kinds of beneficial articles are waiting to be read by you! Head on over there and check it out now.