10 Unexpected Ways Exercise Can Benefit Your Mental Health

Mental Health

Everybody knows exercise is excellent for our body, our posture and strength. Still, benefits of exercise go way beyond that. Not only does it improve our physical health, but it also improves our mental state. Benefits for our mental health are numerous and pretty unexpected, so check them out and be even more motivated to get physically active as soon as possible:

1. Reduces stress – whether it was a tough day at the office or things just haven’t been going your way, breaking a sweat at the gym can significantly reduce the level of stress in your body. While working out, our body releases norepinephrine, which lessens the brain’s reaction to stress. Whether it is physical or mental stress, the relief is in targeted physical activity, so start running!

2. Releases endorphins – it’s a great thing that being active also makes us feel happy. Even though it is strenuous to spend an hour and a half sweating and working u our muscles, it definitely pays off at the end of our training. Endorphins are released during the workout and we finish the training feeling euphoric. In a way, training is an antidepressant, so get rid of your anxiety doing squats and sprinting.

3. Builds up your confidence – physical exercise makes us look and feel more attractive. Our self-esteem improves each time we visit the gym. It doesn’t matter how you look or how old you are when you start being regularly physically active, you will feel more confident and aware of your self-worth every time you are active. Your self-image will be getting better day by day. It doesn’t matterif you are young and capable, or older and exercise with the use of mobility scooters – exercise makes you understand yourself and start to appreciate your body.

4. Improves your memory – another great thing about working out is that it actually sharpens our memory and improves our ability to learn new things. And you know the saying – we are as young as our ability to learn. While doing exercises, our body produces cells in the hippocampus, which is in charge of memory and acquiring new knowledge. According to a study, sprinting improves the ability to remember vocabularymuch longer.

5. Boosts up creativity – Next time you finish your workout, don’t hop under a shower, and then relax. Try sitting down at your desk and coming up with something creative, whether it is writing, drawing or making something. Exercise that made our heart pump faster also awakens our creativity for two hours or so. That’s why when you feel you’re stuck with some job and feel you need a touch of inspiration, break a sweat somewhere and creativity will hit you in the head in no time.

6. Stops cognitive deterioration – it doesn’t feel good to know that our brain will keep getting more and more deteriorated while we’re getting older, but it is what it is. Diseases like Alzheimer’s destroy our brain cells and make us feeling hazy. Still, there is something to be done, even though we can’t stop this unpleasant process completely. We can exercise. Exercise builds up our brain and makes it more resistant to cognitive decline. The biggest positive impact on our brain is working out between age 25 and 45 when degeneration of hippocampus will be significantly decreased. Our brain will be grateful to us in our older age.

7. Keeps addiction under control – The addiction of our brain to dopamine actually leads to being addictive to drugs, alcohol, food or sex. Working out can be helpful while recovering from the addiction. Shorter and intensive training, such as sprinting, can distract the person from craving for drugs or alcohol. Alcohol addicts feel they can’t fall asleep without alcohol, so long rides on bikes or strenuous hiking can help their body clock and make them turn in at the proper time.

8. Reduces anxiety – when feeling anxious, most of us choose having a long hot bath while listening to relaxing music and drinking wine. While it really is calming, you would be surprised to find out what’s even more helpful to deal with anxiety – physical exercise. Chemicals that are released during the training can calm down even people with anxiety disorders. So, next time you feel anxious, try out physical activity instead of just lying down.

9. Helps you with your work – our everyday job can get really frustrating. Whenever we feel suffocated in our offices or another workplace, being unable to get the work done, the solution is to hit to the gym and get our energy moving. There are different studies that show that workers who find time for doing exercise feel more energetic and motivated to actually get down to work than the ones who don’t do anything after their working hours are over.

10. Improves brain function – we definitely think faster if we exercise regularly. Cardiovascular exercises help the new cells to create in our brain. It isn’t the only benefit, because brain-derived protein (BDNF) is produced more while having a high-intensive workout. This protein helps us make decisions and learn, while improving our higher thinking.