The connection between exercise and physical health is understandable. But a lesser discussed connection is the one between exercise and mental health. There are so many benefits to working out, including helping to boost your mood, relieving stress, or dealing with depression and anxiety. Here are just a few ways that exercise can improve your mental health.
Depression and Anxiety
While you exercise, the endorphin levels in the body are increased. Endorphins are known as the “feel good” chemical in the body, which literally makes you feel happier. This, in turn, boosts your mood which can help relieve some symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Doing aerobic exercise can help improve the quality of your sleep. But remember that if you plan on exercise at night, make sure you give your body a chance to wind down. If you’re exercising less than an hour before bedtime, try something more relaxing, like yoga or stretching.
Similar to how exercise boosts endorphins to help with anxiety and depression, it has the same effect on general stress. Exercise can reduce the negative effects of stress as well, helping your body deal with the way it responds to stress.
Getting your body moving and your heart rate up several times a week will give you more energy throughout your day. Start small and build up as you go.
Did you know exercise can help strengthen memory, help you focus, and increase creativity? Next time you’re feeling foggy, try going for a walk.
How long should you exercise to reap these benefits?
If you’re newer to exercise, start small – in 5-to-10-minute chunks and slowly increase your time. The more you exercise, the more energy you’ll have. Even a little goes a long way!