How Exercise Affects Mental Health and Mood

How Exercise Affects Mental Health and Mood

This is a sponsored Guest Post by Alek Sabin

One of the primary reasons that people exercise is to improve their physical health, as continuous exercise helps people lose weight, improve the health of their heart, build muscle mass, and generally live a healthier lifestyle. However, the benefits of exercise don’t just stop at the physical. There are incredible mental benefits to exercise, as well. As a matter of fact, regular exercise has a profoundly positive impact on many people’s mood and mental health. Here are some of the ways that exercise impacts a person’s mental state…

Restoring chemical balance to your brain

Many times, the cause of an individual’s poor mental health stems from a brain chemistry issue. Disorders like depression and generalized anxiety are often caused because the chemicals in the brain are unbalanced or not being produced.

When a person exercises, the brain releases endorphins, which create an incredibly pleasurable feeling. This helps restore balance to the brain and creates more happy chemicals that improve mental health. However, it’s also important to note that one can become too attached to the rush of endorphins, which can cause other problems, down the line.

Working through stress

For many people, mental health problems are often set in motion by stress triggers, which may vary on a person by person basis. These types of stress triggers may be caused by familial relationships, romantic relationships, job stress, tense situations, or any other number of things.

When stress begins to pile up on a person’s life, they can push back against these triggers by using exercise to work through that stress. A good workout will release a lot of tension in the body, and the helps produce chemicals in your brain that mitigate the effect that stress has throughout your body.

Improves your overall esteem

The physical benefits of exercise bleed into the mental health benefits, as well. Low self-esteem can be a major factor in mental health, as a low opinion of yourself can snowball into other courses of problematic thinking.

However, exercise can help you feel more confident in yourself, and improves a sense of self-worth. This isn’t necessarily because it has to change your body image, but simply doing the act of exercise makes you feel better about yourself, because you were the one who put forward the effort to do so.

Exercising outdoors reduces anxiety

If you really want to get the most out of exercise to improve your overall mental health, then exercising outside is brilliant idea. When a person gets outside and in nature, it has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety. The effects of being out in nature and doing exercise can compound to drastically improve your mental health, and help you get out and see new places.

Exercise can help behavioral issues

While these exercising benefits can be enjoyed by any individual, the mental effects of exercise are actually noted and utilized in the medical field to help people who struggle with mental disorders, especially ones that impact behavior.

For example, addiction rehab centers will
frequently use exercise
, such as yoga or weight training, in their inpatient programs to help patients restore the chemical balance in their brains that was thrown off by substance abuse. Therapists also frequently recommend that individuals who suffer from an anxiety disorder use exercise to work through some of their stress.

Remember to exercise in a healthy way!

As you can see, regularly exercising has tremendous benefits for a person. However, it’s also important to note that exercise can be detrimental to an individual, if it isn’t done properly. For example, you can’t just head out for a two-hour workout without knowing how to do a specific exercise in a healthy way. Always stretch before and after a workout, make sure that you fuel your exercise effectively before and after, and if you’re doing something high-impact, consider getting trained.

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