There are several mental benefits of starting, and sticking with, an exercise routine. You boost your immune system, improve your physique, and will also feel better about yourself. Ready to exercise more and feel great? Check out a membership at NW Women’s Fitness today for a variety of classes and the support you need to look and feel your best.
What are the Benefits of Exercise for Your Mental Health?
Only 1 in 3 adults are physically active for the recommended amount of time each week. Not only are these adults missing out on the physical benefits, but what about the mental benefits of staying active? We put together the benefits of exercise for your mental health to help you jump start your exercise program.
When you exercise, your body’s central and sympathetic nervous systems begin to communicate which helps the body respond to stress. Exercising causes your body to produce neurohormones that can improve your mood when affected by stress. Being physically active can also help you deal with your stress and make you a happier person in the long run.
If you suffer from anxiety, exercise is a natural and effective way to treat it. Exercise can boost your energy and relieve tension by releasing endorphins that encourage good mood. Physical exertion is a healthier way to deal with anxiety than winding up in an elevated emotional state- which can lead to other issues and complications.
Improve Self Esteem
Regular exercise can help you lose weight and increase muscle tone. But it’s not just about weight loss- being active can also boost your energy levels, and increase your metabolism which allows you to feel more energized throughout your day, can improve your focus at work or school, and allows you to give more of your time to your family without feeling tired or impatient.
Studies have shown that accomplishing goals can improve your mental outlook and result in more positive feelings. When you combine that with regular exercise, your brain will be focused on positive thoughts and actions leading you to feel better about your self.
Studies have found that regular cardiovascular exercise increases the volume of cells in certain regions of your brain. A tough workout will increase levels of a brain protein throughout the body that will help you learn and make better decisions. Along with exercising, you can improve your brainpower with proper nutrition.
Improve Sleep and Relax More
Moving around about five to six hours before bedtime can increase your body’s core temperature. When that temperature comes down, it tells your body it’s time for bed. Exercise also results in a varying level of physical exhaustion, depending on the intensity of your workout. Often when we’re feeling “tired,” we’re dehydrated, bored, or experiencing seasonal depression or mental fatigue.
That means even though you may feel tired, your mind and/or body may still have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting into a REM state (which is the most restorative form of sleep). The easiest way to counter this is through physical exercise. Staying active helps burn off excess mental and physical energy which can lead to better, deeper sleep. Couple that with feeling more positive and accomplished, and you could be in for a complete change of lifestyle.
Get More Done
Having a hard time getting something done? Try taking a walk or a jog. Exercise can help create more energy to give you the boost to get things done. We know it can be challenging to squeeze time in at the gym. By starting with smaller, more attainable goals, you’re more likely to follow through and develop a habit. Keep in mind, in order to build muscle, you will need to consider some for of weight training; cardio alone won’t help to build muscle.
Gain Coping Skills
If you face challenges in life, exercise gives you a healthy way to cope instead of turning to unhealthy habits that will make you feel worse in the long run. Over time, you may find that a quick run or brisk walk can help you feel better. When it comes to exercise, you’ll be most successful if you find an activity that you truly enjoy doing and look forward to week after week. For some, that might be yoga; for other, kickboxing. Check out our group fitness classes and challenge yourself to try a new class at least once per month until you find one that you love.