Everyone knows that exercising is good for the body. Most people work out either to improve their cardio health or to get their muscles toned. But aside from getting that Instagram famous rockin’ bod, there are many other benefits that you can get from exercising. You might be neglecting your leg days since you started lifting, but your mind is constantly getting buffed since your fist push-up. Exercising is not only for the body but also for the mind.
With that in mind, here are the four important ways exercising improves your mental health.
1. AN ACTIVE BODY HELPS THE MIND REST WELL
Working out has both direct and indirect effects on your sleeping habits. Moderate to intense workout routines can lead to reduced time it takes to fall asleep. When you exercise, your body’s core temperature rises. And once it drops down to normal, your body associates it as the signal to relax and rest.
Exercise can also decrease the chances of excessive weight gain, which indirectly helps prevent OSA or obstructive sleep apnea since OSA cases have been scientifically connected to obesity. So, not only will you be able to relax and sleep well, but the people around you at nighttime will also be given the silence and peace they have been praying for.
But it doesn’t end with bedtime. Adulthood comes with a lot of discomforts. One of which is the unending cycle of feeling restless during day time and having too much energy at night. With a proper exercise routine, you will have the energy to stay awake and active during working hours.
2. WORKING OUT MAKES HANDLING STRESS EASIER
People usually go to the gym whenever they feel stressed. This is because exercise boosts the release of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. And since these chemicals are known for being the happiness molecule, the feel-good hormone, and noradrenaline, respectively, it’s clear that producing them regularly can help you with stress relief.
But more than relieving stress, what makes physical fitness even more beneficial to your mind is how it helps in regulating your critical thinking capabilities. Most of the time, the only two courses of action a person has is fight or flight. When one panics, the decision time gets shorter. Working out solves this by using the same chemicals responsible for helping you feel good. The endorphins can help you concentrate and be mentally sharper. When you exercise, the growth of new brain cells is also stimulated. And lastly, since it helps with resting your mind regularly, exercising also indirectly helps your body become ready for stressful situations.
3. EXERCISE HELPS WITH DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY
As stated above, physical activities trigger the release of endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, all of which cause euphoria. Because of this, professionals highly recommend exercising as a means to deal with clinical depression and anxiety.
Working out also affects your self-confidence. By staying in shape, the possibility of feeling good and seeing a reflection that you’re comfortable with rises. The recovery from binge eating disorder and other eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia becomes easier and faster with a boosted self-esteem and positive self-image.
Don’t get it wrong. Running on a treadmill doesn’t magically erase mental health problems. However, including working out in your daily routine can help alleviate all these problems.
4. PHYSICAL FITNESS HELPS WITH ADDICTION RECOVERY
Writing the word “dopamine” in this article feels like a workout routine itself. Nevertheless, dopamine, along with the other chemicals, is an integral part of how your mind benefits from exercising. Since dopamine is referred to as the “reward chemical” by doctors and rehab counselors, it’s easy to understand that its production helps the recovery of substance abusers.
And since this chemical can also be attained by using drugs, drinking alcohol, and smoking, reversing addictions by exercising is possible. By exercising to get the addictive high that can usually be found in drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, you can ease your way out of the addiction safely.
And as a bonus, your body also recovers from the negative effects of the addictions said while you distract yourself from the cravings by exercising.
All in all, exercising doesn’t only help you with your body but also your mind. And the best part about it is that you don’t really need to spend a lot to do this. But knowing that you can work out in the comforts of your home without spending a dime is what will surely help your mental health.