How can exercise improve your mental health?

Your exercise regimen might be more than just about staying fit. Many studies in the past have proven that exercise extends beyond improving physical health and stamina. It turns out that exercise may, in fact, be the single best thing you can do for your brain too. It improved mood, memory, and learning.

Sports psychologist Dr Charlie Brown, summarized the possible mental health benefits that exercise can have on us. Check them out below:

  • Exercise increases the production of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, hormones and neurotransmitters that help control the brain’s pleasure point. The secretion of these may help to put off daily stress.
  • You will know this to be true, especially if you exercise at a gym. The whole experience is more or less social interaction. Exercise gives you the opportunity to meet other peoples and socialize and this is immensely helpful for people coping with depression and anxiety.
  • Exercise has been known to remarkably improve self-esteem. Fitness and good health help a person become more confident in their own skin. They also learn to accept and love their body.
  • Regular exercise raises the body’s core temperature by increasing blood circulation to the muscles and reducing muscle tension. Additionally, optimum core body temperature improves the efficacy of the brain’s neurotransmitters.

Ever heard athletes or trainers talk about endorphin-rush or runner’s high? Well, they really do exist. Exercise helps to increase endorphins (endogenous opiates), another type of feel-good hormone.

The question to be answered, then, is “How much exercise do I need?”

Ideally, we should all exercise five days a week for about 30 minutes. But don’t panic if you are busy and this is impossible.

Start with the time you have available and gradually work up to the time needed. It helps if you “book” your exercise times/gym appointments in your diary. That way, you can see what other commitments you have and can work around them. Don’t always focus on the evenings for exercise; you can exercise in the morning before work or at lunchtime too.

Joining an exercise class is always a good place to start. That way, you have to be available to exercise at least one night a week and it gets you into the good habit.

Start that workout & start feeling good!

Learn about relaxation exercises before bedtime.

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