As you may know, exercising has many benefits for your body, but did you know it can help your mental health as well?
Exercising is known to help you control your weight, help reduce the risk of heart disease, and even add years to your life. Little people know the mental effects it has on the body and those that do will almost always mention the mental aspect of it.
Exercise is not just about toning the body. Sure, exercise can improve your physical health, help in weight management, improve your sleep, and even add years to your life. As amazing as those benefits sound, that's not what motivates people to stay active.
Exercising every day gives people an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, have better memories, and feel more positive about themselves.
Regular exercise can have a positive impact on depression, anxiety, and trauma. It also helps to relieve stress and your mood. The best part is you don't need to go crazy on the workouts. Research shows that small amounts of exercise can make a real difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise.
How it helps people with depression:
Exercise is known to treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication. A recent study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%. Exercise is a powerful depression fighter for several reasons. The first reason is it promotes change in the brain It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. Lastly, exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.
How it helps people with anxiety
Exercise is known to relieve tension and stress, boost physical and mental energy, and enhances the well-being of one's body. Pay attention to the sensations of your feet hitting the ground, the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the wind on your skin. By adding this mindfulness element to your exercise you will be able to interrupt the flow of constant worries running through your head.
How it helps people with PTSD and trauma
By really focusing on your body and how it feels as you exercise, you can actually help your nervous system begin to move out of the immobilization stress response that characterizes PTSD or trauma. Instead of allowing your mind to stray, pay close attention to the physical sensations in your body. Try exercises that engage both arms and legs—such as walking, hiking, cycling, running, swimming, or dancing.
The Help Guide | The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise 2020