Fitness & Mental Health: A Hand in Hand Combination

Fitness & Mental Health: A Hand in Hand Combination

fitness mental health

According to a study posted by the US National Library of Medicine (2006), exercise has many positive effects on our mental health including “reducing anxiety and depression, improving our mood, improving self-esteem and cognitive function.” In other words, the benefits of engaging in regular physical activity are not limited to the state of our physique; there are many added benefits to our mental health as well!
 Release the endorphins, serotonin and dopamine!
Simply put, endorphins are chemicals produced by our bodies that have the ability to make us feel good. In fact, endorphins are often called “the feel good” chemicals of the body. Endorphins are released when our bodies are stimulated by certain things or activities like food, pain or, you guessed it, exercise! They then produce a euphoria-like feeling resulting in happiness. Serotonin and dopamine are two other mood lifters increased by regular aerobic exercise. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that affects things like mood, sleep and memory. Dopamine affects your emotional responses and your ability to feel pleasure.
 Think better, learn better, judge better!
Executive Editor of Harvard Health Editor Heidi Godman writes about a study conducted at the University of British Columbia. Through this study, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise has the power to boost the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain in charge of verbal memory and learning. Godman describes how exercise can benefit the brain directly by “reducing insulin, inflammation, and stimulating the release of growth factors.” According to Godman, exercise indirectly benefits our mood, sleep, and the reduction of stress and anxiety. Studies have also shown that these benefits follow us into our later years, improving cognitive function well into old age.
 Self-esteem and that happy feeling
One of the side benefits of regular exercise is an increase in our self-esteem. Being able to regularly complete a routine allows us to feel accomplished. The longer you go on, the tougher the routine gets and the more you realize that you can do it. For some, attaining a different physique is a confidence booster while others might enjoy this plus the added knowledge that they have conquered a routine. This has a direct impact on self-esteem; there is an increase in self-esteem as fitness level and appearance improve. Aside from these benefits, exercise in a group can also play a role in our mental health by increasing social activity, which decreases feelings of isolation and increases a sense of togetherness and support. Aside from the happy feelings associated with the release of endorphins, we tend to feel happier when we are successfully meeting our goals, enjoying the company of others (in group exercise activities), and challenging ourselves.

Taking on a regular exercise routine has countless benefits: an improved appearance, a sense of accomplishment, a healthier self, better sleep at night, improved long term cognitive function, a better body image, the release of “feel good” chemicals and so much more. Time and again different studies point to exercise as one of the best things we can do for our health, both physical and mental.

Buy & Sell Fitness have all of the used fitness equipment that you need to achieve your goals!


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