• The Importance of Exercise for Our Mental Health

    by Caroline Ryther
    on Sep 10th, 2018

Living in this day and age, you are probably familiar with the fact that an inactive lifestyle can lead to a number of physical health issues, including obesity, cardiovascular problems, cancer, and diabetes. In addition to looking good, staying healthy is the main reason why people hit the gym or go jogging on a daily basis.

However, what most of them aren’t aware of is just how beneficial exercising is for our mental health, as well.

If you think about it, a simple walk in the sun or an hour at the gym can do wonders for our mood in the short term. Additionally, just focusing on exercising can divert our thoughts from our current problems and help us calm down for a brief period of time. 

So, what can exercise do for our mental health in the long run? Reduce the likelihood of depression, help us deal with the ever-present stress, and prevent cognitive decline as we begin to age. Regular exercise is also being prescribed more and more as treatment for mild to moderate depression, anxiety, dementia, and even schizophrenia.

What follows are some of the benefits you will experience when it comes to your mental health, if you start exercising a couple of times per week, ideally for at least 45 minutes per session.

You’ll Be Less Anxious and Stressed Out

If you find yourself having a rough day at the office, try going for a run or hitting a gym for a while. Exercise increases concentrations of norepinephrine in our brains, which is a chemical that can moderate how we respond to stress. Moreover, if you take at least 20 minutes a day to work up a sweat, you’ll reduce the chances of having an anxiety attack (if you have problems with anxiety).

You’ll Stay Sharp Even as You Get Older

While a healthy diet and working out can’t really cure Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, they can prevent cognitive decline that starts once we turn 45. Exercising regularly, especially between age 25 and 45, boosts the chemicals in our brain that help us stay sharp and prevent degeneration of the hippocampus—the part of the brain in charge of memory and learning.

You’ll Find Yourself Overall Happier

Going to the gym or hitting the pavement is sometimes easier said than done, but it’s definitely well worth the effort if you manage to do so! Exercising releases endorphins in our brain, which are there to make us feel happier—euphoric even. As we mentioned above, something as simple as going for a walk can have a huge effect on how we feel on a daily basis, so the next time you’re feeling too lazy to work out, just remember that you’ll be happier once you’re done!

You’ll Become More Self-confident

Hopping on a treadmill and lifting weights a couple of times throughout your week will not only make you look like a million bucks, but feel like it, too. Exercising directly affects how we feel about ourselves, boosts our self-esteem, and helps us think more positively about ourselves. In short, working out can truly make a difference when it comes to our self-worth.

If you’re suffering from any type of mental disorder and need help determining what the best course of action for your recovery is, feel free to get in touch with Dr. Best and the Neuroscience Center.

Contact us:

Phone: 847-306-8938

Email: pm@mind.md

Author Caroline Ryther

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