You probably already know that exercise is good for the body. But were you aware that it can also help you feel happier, improve your sleep, and relieve stress?
There are many research studies that draw connections between exercise and well-being. This is why it can be overwhelming if you want to know if it is possible to improve your mental health by working out.
To clear away confusion, we’ve written a guide that breaks down the relationship between exercise and mental health. Keep reading to find out more.
Improve Your Health: The Basics of How Exercise and Mental Well-being
Working out isn’t just about improving your aerobic capacity and getting bigger muscles. You probably will tighten your physique, improve your sex life, and get stronger.
But most people decide to stay active because they want to improve their mental well-being. If you exercise on a regular basis, you’re likely to have more energy and will feel mentally sharp.
It’s also possible that you will feel less stressed and will have a more positive self-perception.
This is why so many healthcare professionals recommend that those who suffer from anxiety, depression, and ADHD exercise on a regular basis.
Contrary to what many people believe, you don’t need to be an exercise fanatic to enjoy the benefits of working out.
Many research studies suggest that it’s possible to make a big difference in your life by engaging in moderate exercise. It does not matter if you are old or young. It’s possible to get more out of life by exercising.
The Relationship Between Exercise and Depression
There are various studies showing that it is possible to treat mild and moderate depression by working out.
In fact, exercise can be just as effective as antidepressant medication. And unlike taking medications, you don’t need to worry about working through unwanted side effects if you choose to treat your conditions by working out.
And you won’t need to worry about relapsing if you have a regular exercise schedule. It’s less likely that this will happen when you are doing physical activity.
There are various reasons why exercise helps people to overcome depression. Most importantly, it will encourage neural growth, cut down on inflammation, and help you feel more at peace.
Part of this has to do with the fact that you release endorphins when you work out. These important brain chemicals will make you feel energized and confident.
People who are depressed often feel lost in their minds. When they exercise, they distract themselves from these unhealthy thought patterns.
By allowing themselves to have this quiet time away from negative thoughts, it is possible to break the mental cycles that feed depression.
Exercise Will Help You Feel Less Anxious
If you struggle with anxiety and want to get better, you should start exercising. It will cut down on tension and stress, increase your mental energy, and help you to feel more connected with your body.
It does not matter what kind of exercise you choose to do. The important thing is to start moving. The best way to do this is by developing an exercise routine that you can stick to on a regular basis.
Those who suffer from anxiety can get the most out of their exercise routines when they remember to slow down and pay attention to what is happening in their bodies.
This is why it is helpful to pay attention to the feeling of your feet hitting the ground, the rhythm of your breath, or the cool breeze that flows through your hair.
If you choose to add this element of mindfulness when you are working out, you’ll begin to interrupt the thought patterns that tend to trigger anxiety.
You Can Reduce Stress by Working Out
When people are under stress, they tend to tighten their muscles, especially in the neck, shoulders, face, and back. This is one of the reasons why so many people have back pain and suffer from migraines.
Those who are stressed often feel a tightness in their chests. Their hearts race and their muscles cramp. People also might develop insomnia and heartburn.
These sorts of physical symptoms tend to negatively influence people’s mental well-being. These physical issues often cause more stress. Therefore, it is easy to get stuck in a vicious cycle when you feel stressed out.
It’s possible to easily break this cycle by doing moderate exercise on a regular basis. Once the brain starts releasing endorphins, your muscles will loosen and you’ll feel the tension in your body start to melt away.
In most circumstances, your mind will start feeling better once your body starts feeling better.
But it can be a challenge to start an exercise routine if you have not been exercising for a long period of time.
This is why you should consider working out with a partner. Those who workout together are able to offer each other accountability support.
This increases the likelihood that they will continue exercising in the long-term future.
ADHD and Exercise
Exercise helps people to improve their concentration, become more motivated, and boost their mood. This is why it is one of the safest and most effective methods for reducing the symptoms of ADHD.
Those who are physically active have higher levels of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in their brains. These chemicals help people to focus and be attentive.
This is why exercise works in similar ways that ADHD medications such as Adderall and Ritalin do.
You Can Get Your Nervous System Unstuck
You can overcome internal blockages by paying attention to how your body feels when you are exercising.
People who suffer from PTSD and trauma often find themselves stuck in an immobilization stress response. They find it difficult to move because they are afraid of triggering painful memories.
Those who usually get stuck in this stress response will be able to notice what their joints and muscles are doing if they slow down and connect with their bodies.
If you want to overcome the immobilization stress response, you should do plenty of exercises that involve cross movements, especially those that require simultaneously using your arms and legs.
Consider doing things like going on walks, running, swimming, riding your bike, dancing, and weight training.
You might also enjoy doing HIIT classes (high-intensity interval training) from time to time. These workouts involve exerting lots of energy in short periods of time.
Not only will you burn calories and lose fat by joining HIIT classes. You will also increase your oxygen levels and will become more attentive to what is happening in your body.
Additional Mental Health Benefits of Working Out
You don’t need to be struggling with a mental health issue to enjoy the mental health benefits of exercising. You’ll blood your mood, will have a more positive outlook on your life, and will have more mental clarity.
The endorphins that you create when you are working out will help you to focus your concentration on important tasks that you need to take care of.
This includes things such as preparing for a job interview or planning a cross-country move with your family.
Making an Investment in Your Mind and Your Body
You will also increase the likelihood that you will continue to be mentally resilient while you grow older.
Regular physical activity is an investment that you can make in your body and in your mind. You’ll start to develop a deeper sense of self-worth. This will help you feel powerful and important.
You’ll develop more confidence in your appearance. And once you master the art of setting and accomplishing regular exercise goals, you will feel a sense of accomplishment.
If you often struggle to sleep, keep in mind that it is possible to regulate your sleep patterns by working out for a few moments in the morning and afternoon.
You can perform yoga in the evening before bed in order to make it easier to fall asleep.
By increasing your heart rate every day, you can increase your energy levels. This is why it is a great idea to plan your workouts for times and days when you tend to lack energy.
Exercise to Overcome Overwhelm
It’s easy to resort to drugs, alcohol, and other damaging behaviors when you feel overwhelmed with worry or stress. These behaviors will only make your problems worse.
This is why it is a much better idea to exercise when you feel overwhelmed by the demands of your life. You will strengthen your immune system and will build resiliency.
Many Simple Exercises to Improve Your Mental State
It is easier than you might think to feel the mental health benefits of doing exercise. You won’t need to dedicate multiple hours from your complicated day to train at the gym, drench yourself in sweat, or run a half marathon.
There is nothing wrong with doing these things. But most people don’t have the time or the patience to become super-athletes.
All you need to do is set aside a half hour to do moderate exercise for five days per week. If it feels too intense to do thirty minutes of constant exercise, consider breaking your workout sessions into fifteen-minute chunks.
It is not even a problem if you feel that you need to stop working out after five or ten minutes. All you need to do is take a break and catch your breath.
Once you get used to exercising, you’ll have more energy and endurance. This means that it will become easier for you to complete your workout sessions.
The most important thing is that you commit yourself to perform physical activity on a regular basis. After you do this for several weeks, it will become a habit.
This is why so many people look forward to exercising instead of dreading it.
Overcome Mental Obstacles to Exercise By Regularly Working Out
For most people, the first step of choosing to work out is the most difficult one to take. This is especially true for those who have mental health conditions.
Here are some of the most common challenges that people face and how it is possible to overcome them.
Feeling Too Tired
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you will feel more depressed, stressed, or exhausted if you work out.
Remember that physical activity will make you feel more energized. If you feel like you are too worn out to move your body, consider going for a ten-minute walk.
Once you start walking, you’ll probably get the energy to go for a longer amount of time than you originally planned.
If you struggle to keep your inner critic at bay, you should try to start thinking about your body in new ways.
Once you start accomplishing your fitness goals, you will start feeling better about yourself. You will also become more motivated.
You’re Too Busy
People who have complicated daily schedules tend to feel overwhelmed when they are about to work out. This is especially true for those who have children or demanding jobs.
Once you choose to prioritize exercise, it will become easier to find space for it within your busy schedule.
Start Exercising to Improve Your Mental Health
It is a great idea to start exercising if you are interested in improving your mental health. You will feel more confident, more energized, and more focused.
It can be difficult to create an exercise routine if it is not something that you are used to doing.
This is why it is a great idea to join a studio that offers various exercise classes and gym programs. If you are ready to start working out in a high-intensity group environment, don’t hesitate to check out our membership options.