Exercise is so good for your body. Research shows that exercising regularly is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. Not only does it help you feel better emotionally and physically, but it also has been linked with lower stress levels, reduced anxiety and depression risk factors, improved sleep quality, and self-esteem. It also helps keep your brain healthy and sharp. Here are five reasons why exercise should be part of your everyday routine and why it might make you want to leave the house.
Exercise Can Improve Your Depression And Anxiety
Exercise can help you feel more relaxed and happier in the moment. It can be a positive distraction from negative thoughts, which is why it’s so effective when you want to take your mind off something that’s bothering you. For example, if you struggle with anxiety or depression, exercising may help distract your attention away from anxious or depressing thoughts.
Many people who exercise report improved moods due to increased serotonin levels. They also tend to be less irritable and more positive during their day-to-day lives. Exercise gives your mind something to focus on besides whatever might be bothering it. It’s a great way to get out of that negative spiral.
Exercise is a great way to manage mild to moderate depression. It’s important to note that exercise alone won’t cure depression, but it can be an effective part of a treatment plan. According to the CDC, exercise has been shown to:
- Increase endorphins: the feel-good hormone
- Increase serotonin: the happiness neurotransmitter
- Decrease cortisol levels: the stress hormone
As you begin exercising, your body releases these chemicals and they make you feel good. The more often you exercise, the greater your mood boost will be. It’s important to find an activity that works for you. Some people like going for long runs while others prefer lifting weights or yoga classes at the gym. Either way, moving your body can greatly improve your mental health.
Exercise Can Help You Sleep Better
Exercise can help you sleep better. Sleep is an important part of keeping your mental well-being in shape, so it’s no surprise that studies show people who exercise regularly get more shut-eye and feel less tired throughout the day. Exercise can give you more energy throughout the day so when it finally comes to going to bed, your body will have burned off that energy and be tired enough to actually sleep
What kinds of exercises have been shown to improve sleep? Any activity that increases your heart rate is likely good for this purpose. Aerobic activities such as running or cycling lend themselves particularly well. They increase blood flow to all parts of the body, which helps send signals to our brains that we’re safe and secure.
Exercise Improves Self-Esteem and Body Image
As you start to feel better about yourself, your self-esteem will improve. When you start to look and feel better, you’ll feel more confident and proud of your accomplishments. Exercising increases self-confidence. This is likely related to how exercise makes people feel closer to their bodies and more connected with others. Both give us a sense of belonging and control over our lives.
Exercising can also help you lose weight and maintain healthy body weight. Many people who struggle with their body image often have issues with being overweight or obese. So losing weight can be an important part of improving self-worth and feeling good about how they look.
Exercising will give you more energy than before because it makes the body use up calories while working out. This means that even if the person doesn’t lose any pounds or inches over time, they may still see benefits in other areas such as having a better sex drive.
Exercise Promotes Brain Health and Memory Function
Exercise can also improve brain health and memory function. As you get older, your brain will naturally begin to decline in terms of size and function. This process is called “cognitive decline” or “brain aging,” and it affects people of all ages. Exercise has been shown to slow down this decline by increasing blood flow to the brain and improving cognitive abilities such as focus, learning speed, mood and memory.
Exercise Can Increase Your Empathy and Reduce Stress Levels
It’s also worth noting that exercise can help you feel more connected with other people, reducing feelings of isolation and depression. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins that make you feel happier and if you’re feeling happy, it’s much easier to empathize with others.
The bottom line is that exercise can help support mental health in many ways. It increases mood and reduces anxiety, improves sleep quality and self-esteem, and boosts brain function. Exercise can also increase empathy, reduce stress levels, and promote overall well-being in all areas of your life. Making the time to exercise can be difficult in our busy day-to-day lives, but it has been shown to change the lives of many people who struggle with their mental health. It can help you too. You just have to start. If you or someone you love is struggling with their mental health, and you think they might need some outside help, please reach out. Here at Acera Health, we want to help you take control of your mental health and help you improve your life. Your world can completely change if you allow us to help you. Please call (949) 647-4090.
Melody is a highly skilled proactive clinical administrator, with more than 17 years of experience serving the community in the behavioral health field.
Her clinical management career started in 2011 as a compliance manager and program director. In 2018, she became an executive as chief clinical officer (CCO). She is a seasoned licensed marriage & family therapist.