How Fitness Helps Your Mental Health

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How Fitness Helps Your Mental Health: A Guide to Getting Fit and Feeling Fantastic
Photo by Jenny Hill on Unsplash

Mental health and fitness are both crucial factors to a happy, healthy life. While it is common knowledge that staying active can improve your general wellbeing, many overlook the positive impact that being physically fit can have on your mental health. To help you understand how fitness positively impacts your mental well-being, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide that delves into the impact of physical activity on your mental state. From relieving stress to fighting depression and anxiety, these benefits of getting fit and staying active will have you feeling fantastic in no time!

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Stress can wreak havoc on both your physical and mental health and can even lead to serious health issues like diabetes, weight gain, and heart disease over time. Luckily, a healthy amount of exercise can help combat stress by reducing levels of cortisol and boosting serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and sleep. In fact, regular exercise is as effective as medication for relieving stress and anxiety, making it a great option for those looking to manage their mood through lifestyle changes. Regular exercise can also help you sleep better by improving circulation and reducing stress hormones that keep you up at night.

Fight Depression

While exercise can be an amazing way to combat stress and anxiety, it can also be effective in treating depression as well. One study found that regular exercise significantly reduced symptoms of depression in adults aged 40 and over. How does this happen? Exposure to natural light causes your brain to release a chemical called serotonin. Serotonin is responsible for making us feel happy and balanced. When serotonin levels are low, it can lead to depression. Exercising can help increase your serotonin levels, improve your mood and help you feel happier. Exercise can also help you sleep better, which is important for treating depression. Sleep is the time when your body heals and regenerates. It’s when your brain recharges and you release hormones that help you feel happy. When you’re depressed, you tend to have trouble sleeping. The reason for this is that your brain is always active when you are awake. It’s like it can’t switch off. Whereas when you’re sleeping, your brain slows down, which is what you need when you’re depressed.

Promote Better Sleep

Exercising regularly can help you sleep better, which is important for treating depression. Sleep is the time when your body heals and regenerates. It’s when your brain recharges and you release hormones that help you feel happy. When you’re depressed, you tend to have trouble sleeping. The reason for this is that your brain is always active when you are awake. It’s like it can’t switch off. Whereas when you’re sleeping, your brain slows down, which is what you need when you’re depressed. Exercise makes your body produce chemicals that can help you relax and let go of the stresses of the day. These are called endorphins, and they can make you feel happy, like a natural high. Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated when you wake.

Improve Your Mood

Regular exercise has been proven to reduce anxiety and help manage mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder. Experts agree that physical activity truly is a mood-altering activity, with many citing the release of mood-boosting endorphins as the reason for this. Exercise also elevates your endorphin levels through other mechanisms, such as the increase in blood flow and the burning of calories. In addition, regular exercise has been shown to boost energy levels, which can help you take on the day feeling great.

Strengthen Your Brain and Muscles

As we age, our muscles and brain cells naturally begin to deteriorate. This is referred to as “aging”, or “senior moments”! Exercising regularly can help you maintain your strength, mobility, flexibility, and cognitive function as the years progress, meaning you can stay actively and independently involved in life for longer. Now that’s something to get excited about! Exercising regularly can also help prevent age-related diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. The reason for this is that it encourages your body to produce more “good” cholesterol (HDL), which helps lower your risk of developing heart disease. Additionally, regular exercise increases your metabolism, triggering your body’s fat-burning abilities. This can help you lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and preventing insulin resistance.

Conclusion

Mental health and fitness are both important factors to a happy, healthy life. While it is common knowledge that staying active can improve your general wellbeing, many overlook the positive impact that being physically fit can have on your mental state. Exercising regularly can reduce stress and anxiety, fight depression, promote better sleep, improve your mood and strengthen your brain and muscles. There really is no excuse not to get out there and fit in a workout – so what are you waiting for?