The Outsized Effect of Exercise on Your Mental Health

Exercise has long been praised for its necessity in leading a healthy lifestyle. Exercising regularly is great for the body – it can reduce fat, increase muscle, improve heart health, reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases, and generally contribute to a healthier disposition.

However, did you know that exercise has an incredible effect on mental health as well? That’s right, by exercising regularly, you can often decrease some of the worst aspects of mental illness. Study after study keeps suggesting that increasing your regular exercise is one of the best ways to improve your disposition and feel happier, healthier, and more ready to take on the day.

Check out these examples.

Anxiety

Did you know that almost 20% of Americans suffer from anxiety in one way or another? It’s the most common mental illness in the US.

  • Anxiety is characterized by feelings of agitation, constant worry, fretting, feelings of doom, as well as physical symptoms like shortness of breath, disorientation, racing heartbeat, sweating, and constant stress. While in many cases medication and professional therapy might be needed to help resolve some of the worst of anxiety, many lifestyle solutions can also help.

One of these solutions is exercise. Exercising often reduces levels of cortisol, which is a chemical in the brain responsible for stress. A regular exercise routine including cardio like running can have a huge effect on stress levels over the long haul. Anxiety often feels like things are spiralling out of control – like everything in your life is falling apart and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Exercising can be something that you can do about it. You’ll feel more powerful after a solid workout, and ready to face whatever challenges may await, without letting in that voice that’s telling you something could go wrong – what are you waiting for? Get some men’s training shoes and start jogging!

Depression

The WHO estimates that over 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression.

  • Depression is a mental illness characterized by intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and dissatisfaction with life. People struggling with depression also often suffer from a lack of motivation and may spend long periods closed off from others.

Depression is a terrible illness, one that mental healthcare professionals are still struggling to fully understand, and still struggling to effectively treat on a large scale. In addition to medication and therapy, exercise can serve as a supportive addition to a treatment plan.

Of course, telling your depressed loved one to get out of bed and go for a run won’t work just like that. But by adding regular exercise to medication and therapy, people struggling with depression can enhance the speed and thoroughness of their recovery through exercise. Exercise releases chemicals in the brain associated with happiness and joy, which can be an excellent jolt for someone feeling in a hopeless funk.

In addition to this, exercise can provide people with a goal and a sense of purpose, which can help further alleviate feelings of hopelessness and lack of motivation. Biking is a great option for people who struggle with depression, as it gets them out and about, while also providing them with exercise!

General mood and self-esteem

Even if you don’t have a diagnosable mental illness, you can still reap some of the amazing mental health benefits of exercise. Everyone has difficult moods, and occasionally struggles with stress, sadness, and low self-esteem.

If you find yourself down in the dumps, or find that you are just not feeling totally hyped on yourself, one possible solution is exercise. Just knowing that you’re doing something that’s good for your body can be a great way to feel better about yourself and about your life.

Exercising can help you feel empowered, which in turn can help you feel more confident. Plus, by lifting weights or running often, you’ll be closer to that scorching hot beach body you’ve been fantasizing about, which can’t but help your mood!

The science is pretty clear: working out regularly is a great way to maintain a healthy wellbeing, physically and mentally. So, in addition to seeking out professional mental healthcare if you need it, be sure that you are getting outside adding exercise to your schedule whenever you can. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did.

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