Exercise is about a lot more than your aerobic capacity or the size of your muscles. Sure, it can vastly enhance your sex life, improve your overall physical health, trim your waistline, and add years to your life. But that’s not all! And it’s not what motivates most people to get, and stay, active.
People who make regular exercise a priority generally do so because of the incredible sense of wellbeing doing this gives them. They report feeling more energetic throughout their days, sleeping better at night, having a better memory, and feeling more relaxed and positive about who they are and where their lives are going. And the good news is that it’s also a powerful medicine for some of the most common challenges we face in mental health.
Regular exercise can have a profound impact on ADHD, anxiety, depression, and more. This is above and beyond it relieving stress, improving your memory and sleep, and boosting your overall mood. And you don’t need to be hyper-fit to start reaping the benefits. Research suggests that even modest amounts of exercise can make a world of difference.
Exercise Your Anxiety Away
Exercise is a natural, very effective treatment for anxiety, relieving tension and stress, boosting your mental and physical energy, and enhancing your wellbeing via the endorphins released when you do it. These chemicals are the same ones that flood your brain when you’re having fun relaxing, so be sure and enjoy the best games around as you can as well. It could be helpful to institute the latter as a reward for when you accomplish the former!
Exercise to Combat Depression
Studies have repeatedly shown that exercise is very effective when treating mild to moderate depression, as much so as taking medication is and without any of the sometimes-debilitating side-effects. A recent Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health showed that running for just 15 minutes a day, or walking for 60, reduces the risk of major depression setting in by as much as 26%.
And not only that, in addition to relieving the symptoms of depression, research has additionally shown that a strictly maintained exercise schedule can prevent those suffering from addiction issues from relapsing.
Exercise to Beat Stress
Have you ever noticed what happens to your body when you’re stressed? Your muscles tense, especially in your face, neck, and shoulders, for starters, and this can leave with backache, painful headaches, or a sore neck. You may also start experiencing issues like diarrhoea, heartburn, frequent urination, insomnia, and stomach-aches. The discomfort and worry of all these physical symptoms can then lead to that much more stress being felt, creating a particularly vicious cycle that you have to suffer through day in and day out.
Exercise is a fantastic way to break this cycle because along with releasing endorphins into your brain, it also relaxes your muscles and releases physical tension. Because our bodies and minds are so closely linked, when we deal with the one the positive effects spill over onto the latter and we’re improved all-round.