The Mental Health Benefits Of Exercise: The Mind & The Body

Exercise is beneficial for your physical health, but research shows it can also improve your mental health. People that regularly work out report several benefits of exercise such as feeling less stressed and anxious, being more self confident and happier.

Your mind and body are very closely linked, and exercising can not only make you feel physically stronger but can mentally keep your mind healthy.


Benefits of Exercising 

Release of endorphins:

Exercising makes us feel good due to neurochemicals, known as endorphins, that are released in our body. Endorphins are known as natural pain relievers that can reduce pain and boost pleasure, and increase feelings of well-being contributing to many mental health benefits.


Stress relief:

Endorphins are crucial in reducing stress levels in our body, and so exercise is a great way of de-stressing. Staying active will help your body relax and relieve any tension from your muscles.  This mean you’re more likely to have a better quality sleep and diet, feel overall happier and be more productive throughout the day.


Try this:  After a work out session, spend a good amount of time stretching out your body, as stress may cause muscle tension especially around your neck and shoulders.


Alleviates Anxiety

Following a regular exercise regime can be a natural and efficient way to treat anxiety. The endorphins released in your body when you are exercising relieve tension and boost feelings of well being including greater physical and mental energy.


Try this:  While working out, try focusing on different bodily sensations rather than zoning out. By doing this, you will enable yourself to be more mindful and appreciate the feelings that you are experiencing when you are exercising. This way you will be able to disconnect from your continuous worries and be fully present. 


Reduced symptoms of depression 

Research shows that regular exercise can reduce symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Exercise promotes changes in your brain; neural growth, reduced inflammation, and the formation of new activity patterns that make you feel calm and relaxed.

It promotes feelings of wellbeing due to the release of endorphins and other neurochemicals that make you feel well, and distract you from negative thoughts.  You might even experience “runners’ high. Interestingly, studies suggest that exercise is as effective as antidepressants on alleviating the signs of mild to moderate depression.  

Try this:  It is important that you have an exercise schedule you are comfortable with so you can maintain it, as it will prevent you from relapsing.  


Self – Confidence

When you are consistently following your exercise regime, it allows you to feel a sense of achievement.  If you are struggling with low self-confidence and self-esteem exercise can have a positive impact on your self-confidence, as your physical strength and body improve.   


Try this: Exercise for 20-30 minutes regularly and pick an activity you enjoy so you are more likely to continue working out. Try and mix different type of classes, or work out with a friend which can be more fun and motivating.