Science has always known there was an important link between the mind and body. For instance, when you feel scared, there are changes made in your body called the fight or flight response. People can pass out or get sick to their stomach when faced with both real an imagined fear, like the fear of public speaking. Not that public speaking isn’t frightening, but that it’s definitely not a life or death matter, like fleeing an assailant. For these reasons, exploring whether exercise is good for mental health is the logical step and scientist have definitely found it’s beneficial. Let’s see why.
Exercise burns off the hormones of stress.
Not only does exercise burn off hormones that occur when you’re under stress, when you exercise hard, your body creates hormones that make you feel good and act like a natural anesthetic. In fact, the correlation of exercise to mental health is so convincing, many therapists use it as a complementary treatment and often in place of taking drugs. It’s been a proven aid for those with depression and anxiety. Exercise also increases energy levels and helps improve the chances of a good night’s sleep Both are important for treating depression.
Exercise improves your circulation.
All the cells of your body require nourishment and oxygen. The blood cells carry that to each cell. If you improve your circulation, you’re improving the blood flow to the brain, which includes more oxygen and nutrients. Studies show that exercising can boost your cognitive ability and help stave off mental decline. A tough cardio workout improved neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells. Those improve the functioning of the hippocampus, which aids memory.
Exercising helps boost your self-image.
It does that in a lot of ways. Studies show that people have an improved self-image the minute they start a workout program. Once they start to see results, it improves even more. Exercise also helps your posture and that can bring a lot of benefits. You look more confident, so people see you as being more confident. That in turn, makes you feel even more confident. Try this little experiment. Sit slouched with your head and shoulders down. You can almost feel the despair. Not sit up straight with your head tall. You can feel the confidence beginning to grow and actually feel happier.
- If you are a pacer when you’re stressed, there’s a good reason. Your body seems to subconsciously know that moving around helps relieve stress.
- Studies show that just moderate exercise several times a week can improve mild depression to the point of eliminating the need for medication. The only side effect is that you have more energy and feel better.
- Using exercise as a coping mechanism can replace negative ones, like drugs, smoking and alcohol. It also makes you feel more in control, which can relieve depression.
- When you’re working out, you’re taking your mind off your problems and focusing solely on the exercise. That small break can help you escape the vicious circle of depression and anxiety. You’ll see things clearer after you exercise.
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