5 Reasons why exercise can boost mental health

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

There are many advantages to get moving and improve your health aside from the obvious benefits to your body. Not only will daily moderate exercise help your metabolism, flexibility, circulation, strength and balance it can future protecting your body against degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis.




A powerful connection exists between physical and mental health and regular physical daily exercise can assist and improve your mental wellbeing.



SLEEP BETTER


It's a well known fact that exercise and regular routines have a strong link to better sleep and a consistent body clock and metabolism. It seems obvious, but is often overlooked, that if you burn the energy that you ingest you won't have excess energy at bedtime. A sedentary lifestyle leaves you consuming more calories than you use, leaving you more prone to gaining weight and a cycle of mental self punishment as a result....which can add to your anxiety level and sleep disruption.




DE-STRESS


Modern life can be an endless list of tasks to complete that never gets shorter, and it all adds up to a considerable amount of daily stress. Finding time to spend on yourself and do some exercise can seem like a self indulgent use of time but I would consider it as integral to my self care as my daily wash routine or brushing my teeth.


Not only does exercise release those feel good hormones that aid relaxation and happiness such as endorphins and serotonin but it can actually increase norepinephrine, a hormone and neural transmitter that modulates our stress response.




INCREASE SELF ESTEEM


Self esteem has many elements, as well as generating the feelgood chemicals that can change our mental state exercise has a profound and lasting positive effect on our bodies. What could be better for a self esteem dopamine boost than achieving daily challenges in your exercise routine. Maybe you hit a personal best, or lost some weight and you look in the mirror and finally see the change you have been working so hard to achieve.




DETOXIFY YOUR BODY


Working up a sweat is a great indicator that your body is working hard. Boosting your body activity also increases the speed of your bodily processes and metabolism. Circulation speeds up, regulating digestion and bowel movements and you sweat more.....which are all transportation systems that de-toxify your body.





SOCIAL CONNECTION


Feeling like being part of a team and being included has great power over your wellbeing and happiness. Regular exercise can provide a great way to meet people in a similar situation and make friends as well as providing support when you need it, especially when you are having a day when your motivation is depleted.



So next time you feel like an afternoon nap, or reach for that chocolate bar because life is getting you down remember that one of the the best ways to help your present and future mental health is to go out and get your body moving and work towards your personal goals.

 

*disclaimer * I am not a mental health professional and in no way imply that improving your physical health is the route to a healing mental health problems. Please seek advice from a mental health professional if you have any serious worries about your mental health.


 

Sources:


Physical activity and mental health | Mental Health Foundation

About physical activity | Mind, the mental health charity - help for mental health problems

The Benefits of Exercise For Sleep - Your Guide to Better Sleep (thesleepdoctor.com)

Boosting Your Serotonin Activity | Psychology Today

13 Mental Health Benefits Of Exercise | HuffPost Life

norepinephrine | Definition, Function, Effects, & Facts | Britannica