Contributed by: Bethany Reynolds, AAFA-CPT
Mental Benefits of Exercise
Studies show that making time for exercise provides some serious mental benefits. Get inspired to exercise with these unexpected ways that working out can benefit mental health and lead to a healthier and happier life.
1. Reduces stress: Exercise increases the concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can positively moderate the brain’s response to stress.
2. Improves mood: You’ll get a happy buzz from working out and it doesn’t have to be for a long duration; 30 minutes of exercise can instantly boost your overall mood.
3. Improves self-confidence: Physical fitness can boost self-esteem and improve positive self-image. Regardless of your weight, size, gender, or age…exercise can quickly elevate self efficacy.
4. Prevents cognitive decline: Working out boosts the chemicals in the brain that support and prevent degeneration of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain for memory and learning.
5. Alleviates anxiety: The chemicals released during and after exercise can help with anxiety disorders and calm you down.
6. Boosts brainpower: Various studies on mice and humans have shown that cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells (aka neurogenesis) and improve overall brain performance. Studies suggest that a tough workout can increases levels of a brain-derived protein (known as BDNF) in the body, believed to help with decision making, higher thinking, and learning.
7. Sharpens memory: Regular physical activity boosts memory and your ability to learn new things.