The Link Between Fitness and Mental Health
September 13, 2017

The Link Between Fitness and Mental Health

Working out regularly is great for improving the appearance and condition of your body. An added bonus: there are also mental health benefits of exercise; when a body is in motion, chemicals that boost brain power get stimulated. Physical activity helps reduce stress, sharpen memory, increase relaxation, improve self-confidence, and more.

Exercise and Mental Health

Whether you are having a bad day and need a lift, or if everything went great and you want to feel even better, exercise works.

Exercise releases feel good brain chemicals like serotonin and endorphins that lift a depressed mood. It also serves as a common ground in which to meet new people and combat loneliness, or feelings of isolation.

If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, seek depression treatment or need help to control addiction, daily exercise can reduce your symptoms and help manage your recovery. Having a workout routine also improves sleep quality, which can affect how you function both mentally and physically.

Preventing Cognitive Decline

If you want a sharp memory as you grow older, keep moving. Active bodies circulate more blood to the brain, which helps boost brain power. Exercise increases the area of the brain responsible for thought clarity and memory processes. Nerve connections increase and provide added protection against disease and injury.

How Often Should I Exercise?

Adults should fit in at least half an hour of moderate to intense physical activity daily, or most days. It is possible to break up workout sessions into 10 to 15 intervals if your schedule gets too hectic.

Be sure to practice mindfulness throughout each exercise, to reduce stress and boost your mental health. This is how you will train your brain to focus better by controlling the way you think about things.

If you are not motivated to get started, or if you have a poor track record for sticking with an exercise program, choose an activity you enjoy doing and ask friends, coworkers or family to join you. It helps to have a support system to keep you accountable.