The Importance of Exercise and Mental Health
Everyone understands that exercise can lead to better aerobic endurance and bigger, stronger muscles. But did you know that regular exercise can help to give you a mental health boost as well? As far as exercise goes, it is often neglected as treatment for mental health issues. Increasing or starting exercise can help to create a better sense of well-being. This can include more energy, better sleep, a clearer memory, and feeling more relaxed. There are a number of different mental health challenges that exercise can help to alleviate such as depression, anxiety, and mental stress. For those reasons, exercise needs to be more recognized as an effective treatment for mental health issues.
Depression is one of the most recognizable mental health challenges that people deal with. The hippocampus is the part of the brain where the mood is regulated. Doctors have found that those who suffer from depression have a smaller hippocampus. However, regular exercise can help to create nerve cell growth resulting in better nerve connection to help relieve symptoms of depression. The release of endorphins, which are the brains feeling good chemical also increases during exercise and helps give you a distraction from the negative thoughts associated with depression.
Along with depression, anxiety is a very common challenge for many people. The good news is, exercise can help this as well. Exercise will help to naturally release the tension and stress from the body while also boosting your physical and mental energy. By training your mind to think about the exercise, you can interrupt the constant worry in your head giving yourself relief from anxiety. Through time and regular exercise, these symptoms can stay suppressed.
At some point, everyone has dealt with some sort of stress. Whether it’s work or home, stress is the most common challenge people deal with daily. Similar to depression and anxiety, exercise will help increase the amount of endorphins released, leaving you in a good mood. Regular exercise will help to relax your muscles and make your body feel better overall. Additionally, since the body and mind are so closely linked, when your body feels better your mind will too.
Getting started at exercising can be a difficult task for those dealing with mental health challenges. Starting small is the best way. Setting small exercise goals is a great way to increase the probability of achieving them. Creating a large goal and failing to obtain it can make mental challenges worse by decreasing self-esteem and increasing your negative thoughts.
The standard amount of exercise to reap the benefits is thirty minutes at least five times a week. The exercise does not have to be strenuous to help mental health as moderate intensity exercise will work just as well. If thirty minutes a day is hard to accomplish, break it down into three segments. Try to focus on activities you enjoy and being comfortable with your exercise. Rewarding yourself for consistent exercise is another great way to increase self-esteem. Exercise is also a great way to be social and gain the support of those exercising around you.
Mental health challenges are a very common occurrence in this day and age. Let exercise help you to positively deal with those challenges even while on vacation. Become a better version of yourself physically and mentally.