It’s no secret that exercise is good for your physical health, but what about your mental health? Exercising on a regular basis has been proven to improve symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and more as well as improving your sleep and overall mood.
The great thing is you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits of exercise. Regardless of your age or fitness level, exercising can be a powerful tool to help ease any negative symptoms of mental illness that you may be feeling and there are years of scientific research to back this fact up.
The science behind it all
It’s time to forget the idea that the mind and body are entirely separate entities. In truth, the state of your mind affects your body and vice versa. For example, if you’re having a day where you’re feeling over anxious or depressed, you’re probably less likely to get up and active. In turn, you’ll feel worse for not exercising your body, and you’ll get caught in a vicious cycle that can be tough to break.
Your brain is no different to any of the other muscles in your body. A healthy dose of exercise will increase your heart rate, pumping more oxygen to your brain, and aids the body in its release of the hormones that nourish your brain cells.
Have you ever experienced a “runner’s high?” This feeling has been associated with the effects of antidepressants and causes a staggering drop in hormones that can make us stressed as well as an increase in endorphins that make us feel happy. In fact, studies have even shown that the effect of running is associated with more cell growth in the brain’s hippocampus– the area that’s responsible for learning and memory. That’s why exercise is thought to lower a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Exercise for depression and anxiety
Depression can leave you feeling sluggish and tired, which will mean you’re much less likely to want to hit the gym. However,regular exercise is often used treatment for those with mild to moderate depression. As we’ve mentioned, exercise will increase the flow of endorphins to the brain, but it will also release other neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which will also lift your mood.
Similarly, those who suffer from anxiety will find that exercise reduces tension, stress, and anger, gives them a natural energy boost, and provides more focus in life.
It’s recommended that adults do 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. For some, this may seem like a lot, but being active doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym for 30 minutes every day. Adopt a more active lifestyle by choosing the stairs over the escalator, walking or riding your bike to work, or speeding up your tasks in the home.
Remember, any exercise is better than none. If you’re looking for an activity that you can fit into your weekly schedule, why not try Prestige Boot Camp? High-intensity workouts such as boot camps have been proven to improve physical and mental health after only a few weeks of training.