The human body is meant to move, not watch TV. Most people are aware that regular physical activity is an essential part of toning muscle, burning calories, and supporting cardiovascular health. It can also help to boost the immune system and ease the symptoms of conditions like diabetes and arthritis. What many people fail to realize is that exercise is also important to mental health. Here are some of the ways that regular activity can also improve your mind and your quality of life.
Fight Depression and Anxiety
Basically, physical exercise helps your metabolism to increase production of “happy” brain compounds like dopamine, norepinephrine, neurotransmitters, endorphins, endocannabinoids, and serotonin. There are about 100 different neurotranmitters in the human brain . All of these affect mood, concentration, and awareness.
Exercise has broad effects on your mental state, as a healthy balance of these chemicals also helps to reduce and overcome chemicals and hormones that support depression and anxiety. Exercise is a great outlet for stress, since it increases your body temperature and improves blood flow to create a calming, satisfying effect.
Experience Other Mental Benefits
Regular exercise for children, and some adults, uses the same mechanisms to counter ADHD. In adults, it can reduce post-traumatic stress disorders. Looking and feeling better through regular exercise also helps to improve self-esteem and confidence, motor skills, and learning ability. Healthier bodies and better balance of body chemistry can also regulate and improve sleeping habits.
Exercise is definitely a better coping mechanism for your anxieties than drugs, alcohol, or pent-up frustration that could unexpectedly boil over. Regular exercise allows you a distraction from your troubles. In public settings this can lead to positive human interactions and new friendships that further reduce stress and improve your overall mood.
Find the Right Exercise
Physical activity doesn’t have to be a visit to the gym, a daily jog, or a strict program of calisthenics. The truth is, you aren’t likely to keep up a fitness regimen that you see as a chore. It may even be adding to your depression. At least 20 minutes of exercise a day, three days a week, can make all the difference. It just has to be something you can enjoy.
Think about what your interests and resources are. A brisk walk in the park, swimming, hiking, tennis, karate lessons, and countless other options might be more fulfilling for you than a boring routine. Habits such as biking to work, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator also can become part of your exercise routine.
If you have a particular medical condition such as heart issues or joint problems, excessive body weight, or are getting on in years, you might want to consult a doctor. If your physician approves stick with mild exercises at first for limited periods. If it’s something you enjoy or that you make a habit, your activity level will gradually go up and your depression will gradually fade.
Support Your Body
Your fitness levels and mental health will be affected if you indulge in a diet or other bad habits that are undermining your stamina, health, and recovery capacity. Think about supporting your new fitness program through proper diet, supplements, or recovery drinks like ASEA that, according to its YouTube video, helps to rejuvenate your body after a workout.
The advantages of regular physical activity to your mental state are considerable, and you’ll go on reaping the benefits for a lifetime if you find activities you’re going to stick with. You don’t have to an athlete or fitness junkie to maintain a healthy mental state. You just have to keep moving.