One of the most pressing risks to the mental health of Americans is stress, and around 48% of Americans say that it has a negative effect on their personal and professional lives.
Stress is also linked to the most common mental conditions in the US, anxiety and depression.
Of the many natural methods recommended by health professionals to improve mental health and wellness, exercise stands out.
By getting your heart racing and by honing your strength and flexibility, you will also be benefiting your body in invaluable ways.
These are just a few reasons why every drop of sweat is just another step towards a happier, healthier you.
3 Reasons Exercise Is Good For Your Mental Health:
1. Exercise helps to overcome depression.
Exercise may be just as important for those battling severe depression as finding the right treatment, according to a recent study by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center. The researchers noted that depression has a big effect on health and can even reduce a person’s lifespan. Those who exercise, however, are 56% less likely to die from heart disease following a diagnosis of depression. Exercise can help keep you physically and mentally fit in many ways. By keeping you motivated, it can also help battle conditions like obesity, which are in turn directly linked to heart disease, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes.
2. Exercise increases self esteem.
Exercise can make you feel better about yourself, which in turn can have powerful effects on the way you perform at school or work, as well as the way in which you relate to others. One study found that even with small amounts of exercise, overweight teens enjoyed a big boost in confidence. They also felt better both about their academic competence, and their physical appearance. One factor that demotivates people is the idea that you need to exercise for hours, or lift untold amount of weight, to make a difference. As stated by HomeFitnessJourney, even brisk walking on dedicated machines at home or at the gym, going for a brisk walk at the park, or investing in a small set of weights for personal use, can make a big difference.
3. Exercise increases neural connections.
A study published just last month found that even short bursts of exercise increase connections between neurons in the part of the brain associated with learning and memory. Researchers stated that playing a weekly game of pickup basketball or taking 4,000 steps on a given day, already promoted enhanced brain function. In other words, by embracing both long term and short term workout sessions, you can prime the brain for learning, which is important both during your academic years and when you are older.
Numerous studies have shown that exercise is an excellent way to fight depression, anxiety, and stress. Being physically fit will also help you sleep better, which is especially important if you have anxiety or depression. To make the most of exercise, set aside a consistent time to work out everyday, and record your progress on a dedicated app or even a journal. Finally, take a friend along, studies have shown that an exercise buddy can help keep you motivated and consistent, both of which are key to reaping the maximum benefits of daily exercise.