Exercise not only helps you to develop a leaner, stronger body, but it can also provide various mental health benefits that can potentially transform your outlook on life.
Regardless of your age, gender, or fitness level, regular physical activity can make you feel healthier, happier and more confident each day. If you want to enjoy a greater quality of life, here are the six ways exercise can improve your mental health.
1. Reduce Your Stress Levels
Stress relief is one of the most common mental health benefits of exercise. That is because physical activity will force your body to work up a sweat, which can remove tension from your muscles. What’s more, exercise can also boost the concentration of norepinephrine in your body, which is a chemical that can improve the brain’s stress response.
2. Increase Your Happiness
If reducing your stress levels wasn’t enough, exercise can also make you feel happier. This is due to the body releasing endorphins (feel-good hormones), which can instantly improve your overall mood. Various studies have also found that exercise can ease symptoms for people living with clinical depression or anxiety.
3. Control Your Addiction
Living with an addiction can be a daily battle with both the mind and body. Exercise can, however, be combined with a professional, intensive outpatient program, which could prevent a relapse. That’s because a workout will cause the brain to release dopamine, which is a reward chemical that can provide a natural feeling of euphoria. It can also distract a person from their addiction, deprioritize cravings, and can reboot their body clock so they can enjoy an improved sleeping pattern.
4. Prevent Cognitive Decline
Cognitive decline is a natural part of aging, and it is caused by a loss of brain cells. Unfortunately, this may result in a shrinking of the brain, so a person could potentially lose some important brain functions, such as memory.
Thankfully, exercise can counteract cognitive decline that occurs after the age of 45 years old, and can prevent degenerative diseases, such as dementia. For this reason, you must regularly workout between the ages of 25 to 45 year old to prevent the degeneration of your brain’s hippocampus.
5. Tap into Your Creativity
If you want to embrace your creative side, start working out regularly. It is believed an intense workout can increase a person’s creativity for two hours after exercise. So, the next time you need to fill your mind with new and original ideas, go for a run, pump iron in the gym, play sports with friends, or join a dance class.
6. Improved Self-Confidence
As exercise can help you to shed excess weight, tone your body, and build muscle mass, it can make you both look and feel like a million bucks. Regular physical activity can ultimately be a great way to improve your self-esteem, regardless of your weight, age, or size. As a result, you might be more than happy to step in front of a mirror each day.