By now, we're all well aware of how exercise can benefit your body. Regular and efficient exercise can help you to control your weight, prevent the onset of disease, boost your energy levels, and much more.
But what about the mental health benefits? There is a strong link between your mind and your body - it's important that you properly understand it. In the US, an estimated 1 in 5 adults suffers from some form of mental health condition. Those conditions range from things like anxiety, chronic stress, depression, and more serious conditions.
Many people find that a sustained level of efficient exercise can help them to treat their mental health conditions. Let's take a closer look at the mental health benefits of exercise.
Psychological Benefits of Exercise
The psychological benefits of exercise are diverse and numerous. Here's a look at some of the general benefits of physical activity on mental health:
Improved levels of energy
Many mental health conditions have roots in low levels of energy. Studies show that a lack of physical stimulation and activity can lead to feelings of lethargy that snowball into more serious mental health conditions.
When you exercise, you help your body to deliver oxygen and other important nutrients over the body. This helps to boost your energy levels and it also means that your cardiovascular system works more effectively. Better heart and lung health help you to feel energized over the course of the day and tackle whatever comes your way.
If you suffer from low energy levels and feelings of lethargy, even the smallest amount of regular exercise might be able to help you.
Achieve better sleep
Many mental health conditions are created or at least exacerbated due to disrupted and poor-quality sleep. If you fail to get the sleep that you need, you'll inevitably feel foggy and detached from the world around you.
Those feelings of detachment and confusion can snowball and worsen your mental health. That's why it's so important that you pull out all the stops to make sure that you get hygienic and quality sleep.
Studies show that regular exercise can help you to get to sleep faster and achieve a deeper sleep more reliably. This helps you to feel rested and energized when you wake up and start your day. You shouldn't exercise too close to bedtime, though.
Enjoy a better sex life
Physical intimacy is an important part of human life. We are all hard-wired to crave close connections, but many people find that their feelings of lethargy can affect their sex life. This can lead to feelings of detachment and dissatisfaction.
Regular exercise can elevate your energy levels and studies show that it can boost arousal. Regular exercise can also help you to feel more comfortable in your own skin - an important factor when it comes to enjoying a healthy sex life.
A fulfilling and happy sex life can help you to feel happier and more confident.
Exercise and Anxiety
Tens of Millions of people across US and UK suffer from varying degrees of anxiety, but only 35% of those people pursue treatment. Anxiety is a horrible mental disorder that can cause symptoms like:
- Ruminating thoughts
- Restlessness and agitation
- Tension and sleep problems
- Panic attacks
- Difficulties socializing.
It's often very difficult to do so, but anxiety needs to be addressed and treated properly. There is a range of treatment techniques that are available. These range from therapy to medication and beyond.
Exercise also comes into the picture. The effects of exercise on the body and mind are very positive. In fact, studies have shown that regular exercise can be just as effective at treating anxiety as medication. The effects are also often longer-lasting.
Exercise is so effective for a combination of reasons. Many experts believe that exercise helps people to distract themselves, focus on self-efficacy, and build a regular routine that features social interaction.
If you suffer from anxiety, exercise can almost certainly help you to alleviate your symptoms and take back control of your life.
Exercise and Depression
An estimated 17 million American adults and 1 in 4 people living in the UK suffer from major depressive disorders. This disorder is very serious and it causes the following symptoms:
- Reckless behavior
- A loss of energy
- Unpredictable behavior
- Disrupted sleep
- A feeling of detachment
- Feelings of hopelessness
Again, there are a variety of treatment methods for depression. It's important that depressed people pursue professional help and find the treatment that will work most appropriately for them. They will find, though, that regular exercise can almost certainly play a positive role in their journey.
There are strong links between exercise and emotional health. Exercise can act as an all-natural treatment that works just as well as medication for some people. This is an important factor, given that medication brings its own problems and side effects.
Exercise is so effective for a few reasons. It can help people suffering from depression to address their sleep issues and lower their blood pressure. Regular exercise also results in the release of endorphins - the brain's natural feel-good chemicals.
Neurologists are also discovering that exercise helps to create neurotrophic proteins that lead to the growth of nerve cells that improve brain function. This can help people with depression to feel much better and relieve their symptoms.
Exercise and Stress
In general, people are incredibly stressed. A range of dietary, societal, and lifestyle factors are making people suffer from chronic stress more than ever before.
Stress is awful for the body, and there's a strong correlation between stress and the early onset of a range of unfortunate conditions. Thankfully, exercise can also help people to address the stress in their life. Again, there are a few reasons that exercise is such an effective treatment method for stress.
Firstly, exercise releases endorphins that can elevate a person's mood. People also often find that they reach an almost meditative state when they exercise. This can distract people from the stress in their lives and give them the break that they need.
What's more, exercise helps people to improve their sleep. This is an important way to stop stress snowballing into more serious conditions like anxiety and depression.
The intellectual effects of exercise are also myriad. These positive impacts help people to achieve a sense of perspective. That new way of looking at life helps people to more effectively manage the stress in their lives.
If you believe that your mental health is acting as a barrier that's limiting your happiness, you should consider exploring how exercise can help you today.