Thinking of exercising, the main benefits that come to our minds are the ones related to the human’s physical health like the lower risks of heart diseases and managing the blood sugar and insulin levels.
But did you know that exercising has outstanding benefits on our mental health as well? That’s why we’re here. The sad truth is that we all forget the benefits of exercising on our mental health, while only focusing on the physical side, and especially how we look.
First, exercise is proven to greatly reduce day to day stress, increase self-reported happiness levels and lower levels of sadness and loneliness. Both temporarily and permanently, exercise can prevent some mental health disorders, in some cases can even be as effective as psychological and pharmaceutical treatments. This does not, in any way, mean that we should substitute seeking a professional health care with only exercising.
A study found that running for a quarter of an hour a day or walking one hour, can reduce the risk of major depression by 26%.
Asking yourselves how is that possible?
Well, exercise boosts your body’s creation of endorphins which are hormones that help you relax, feel more pleasure and less pain, and reduces the amount of stress hormone in your body called cortisol.
Exercise also helps your brain manufacture more dopamine and serotonin which are chemicals responsible for making you feel joyful. Activities like fitness classes and team sports are opportunities for social interaction which has proven to boost moods and decrease feelings of loneliness.
Once it becomes a routine, exercise can also increase self-esteem and promote a sense of self-worth. And it is also seen that exercise can distract the person from negative thoughts, can cause better sleep, stronger resilience and more energy.
Finally, when feeling sad, not in a good mood, bothered or mad, exercising is always a very good way to release all your unpleasant feelings.