We are all aware of the bucketloads of physical benefits that exercise provides us with. It tones up your limbs, strengthens your core, aids in keeping your heart strong, and can add years onto your life. But what about the benefits of exercise on how you feel and your brain development and health? Check out below how to exercise your way to a happier you.
What do you think is the thing that continues to motivate people to keep active and get moving? Yes, of course, it keeps you trim and keeps your body fit, active, and overall healthy, but one of the most beneficial parts of the exercise is just how much it can impact your mood and your overall mental health. It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you enjoy, whether it be an intense HIIT session, pilates or a nice long walk, all types will go towards helping to improve your mood and brain health!
This is why people keep going back for more. Have a look at how exercise can significantly help in several parts of your life other than just losing weight and toning up.
Have you ever had no motivation to exercise after a long day at work or because it is just too cold in the morning, but forced yourself to do it anyway, resulting in you feeling so much better for it? That feeling is the feel-good chemicals that are so often referred to in association with exercising – endorphins – working hard, doing what they do best to make you feel fab!
These amazing chemicals provide you with mood-boosting happiness, pride, and achievement when you complete any form of exercise. Moving your body in a way that makes you feel proud of yourself and what your body can do is pretty great.
Assists with Depression, Stress and Anxiety
It is often explored that exercise can have the same effect on mild to moderate depression and anxiety as antidepressants. Keep in mind, it can’t have exactly the same positive effect, but the idea is that the hormones released throughout exercise help relax and with the brain’s functioning. Maintaining a daily exercise regime can see relapse less likely to occur, as well as provide a sense of routine and consistency in one’s day to day life, with the aim to reduce stress and the feeling of overwhelm.
There are a whole lot of reasons that exercise can help in lessening the severity of depression and anxiety. It has been found to reduce inflammation and promote changes within the brain, and thanks to the endorphins that are released into the brain, provide heightened feelings of calm and positivity.
Exercise is also a go-to for many people to have time away from the busy and fast-tracked world. It allows for a bit of distraction and time to focus on you and your health and happiness for a portion of your day.
The importance of a good night’s sleep for your physical, but more importantly, your mental health is extremely significant. The connection between exercise and providing yourself with consistent and high-quality sleep has been widely researched and subsequently proven, as the amount of slow-wave sleep, that ‘deep sleep’ feeling, increases after undertaking ‘strenuous’ exercise, where your heart rate has been raised.
As mentioned, also because your mood is increased due to exercise, when your head hits the pillow at night, you generally aren’t as worried or stressed, which can often lead to hours of overthinking and less quality sleep.
Time to Socialise
The motivation, connection, and accountability that goes along with exercising with a friend whether it be attending a gym class together or going for a walk and coffee is pretty powerful, right? It is such a productive and fun way to socialise, getting two really effective and important activities to boost your mood done in one go!
Socialising provides our brain’s overall cognitive development and mood with a plethora of goodness.
So get yourself a gym buddy, set up a weekly coffee and walk with a friend or join a local sports team to benefit big time in more ways than one!
Improves Your Memory
As you move your body during exercise, your blood is pumped around the body and up to the brain. Due to this, the size of the hippocampus, which is responsible for storing and referencing memories, is enlarged.
Exercise also increases the strong connections between all of the nerve cells within the brain. In turn, this improves your memory and helps to protect your brain against injury and disease.
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