Longevity logo

How Exercise Contributes to Better Mental Health

by Jerome Shaw 8 months ago in fitness

Making time for a better mind 🧠

How Exercise Contributes to Better Mental Health
Photo by andrew dinh on Unsplash

Everyone knows that exercising regularly can make one physically fit. However, did you know that exercising can contribute immensely to maintaining the state of your mental health as well? In this post, we’ll talk about some of the most vital mental health benefits that you can enjoy by exercising every day. But first, we’ll take a look at why good mental health is important.

The importance of being mentally fit

By David Matos on Unsplash

The state of our mental health determines who we are as individuals, how we behave with others, how we perceive life along with all that it has to offer, and more. That’s why it’s essential for you to spare some thought for your mental health.

Despite the progress and advancements that the world has witnessed, people with mental health issues such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, and depression are still afraid to share their troubles, particularly across conventional societies.

If you’ve experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression repeatedly, your first course of action should be to consult a reputed mental health expert near you. Be open about the troubles you have been facing and incorporate the expert’s recommendations into your life. Typically, mental health issues are managed/treated through a combination of medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, and exercise.

Here are some benefits that exercise has for mental health:

Eliminate excess stress

By Lily Banse on Unsplash

We all have responsibilities and life tends to continually challenge us with new difficulties to overcome, and stress is a natural response to those difficulties. However, when you’re constantly stressed out, it can take a toll on your mental health, making you more easily irritable, fatigued, frustrated, and angry.

There’s nothing better than sweating it out to get rid of the excess stress. Exercising facilitates the production of a chemical known as norepinephrine, which plays a key role in regulating how your brain responds to stress.

Boost self-confidence

By Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

People with mental health issues tend to have severe confidence issues. Combined with unhealthy eating habits and a lack of motivation to pursue physical fitness goals, their self-confidence suffers further damage.

However, if you convince yourself to shed those excess pounds and get past the mental barrier that restricts you from exercising, you’re bound to reap some great rewards. Regular exercise will get your body back in tip-top shape, which will make you feel great about yourself, enhancing your self-confidence in the process.

Facilitate the production of happy chemicals

By KAL VISUALS on Unsplash

The more you exercise, the more your brain will produce endorphins; chemicals that induce euphoric and happy feelings. Think of them as natural antidepressants that your brain can create naturally.

Mental health experts recommend exercising so that the effects of anti-depressant medication are combined with those of the endorphins. People diagnosed with clinical depression should combine both to manage their symptoms and lead a happier life.

Delay the onset of degenerative diseases

It’s natural for the brain’s cognitive functions to decline with age, particularly after you reach the 45-year-old mark. While there’s no way to stop this decline, you can certainly delay it through regular exercise.

Certain chemicals in our brain prevent the degeneration of the part of the brain that dictates our cognitive abilities; the hippocampus. Exercising helps the brain to release greater concentrations of these chemicals, ensuring that the health of the hippocampus is maintained for as long as possible.

Better Sleep

By Dominic Sansotta on Unsplash

Mental health disorders often interfere with sleeping patterns and frequent bouts of insomnia are commonly reported by those who experience anxiety and depression.

However, your brain will naturally feel tired after a session of moderate exercise. Exercising is much safer than consuming sleeping pills, which are addictive and have the potential for abuse.

To maximize the benefits of exercise, work out when you can in the outdoors as well, especially when it’s clear and sunny. Sunlight can help the body to produce Vitamin D, which can prevent a whole host of bone-related and heart-related health issues.

Jerome Shaw
Jerome Shaw
Read next: Best Running Shoes for Women
Jerome Shaw

All my life I've been inspired by others and I strive to be that for you. If I can spark even one person to become their greatest version, I know that one day you will do the same.

See all posts by Jerome Shaw

Find us on socal media

Miscellaneous links