It’s a well-known fact that people take regular physical exercise to help them to stay fit and to assist with managing their weight. But did you know that physical exercise is also good for your mental health too?
The reason behind this fact is that when you take physical exercise, one of the effects (apart from improving muscle tone and strengthening cardiovascular health) is that the exercise causes your body to release endorphins.
Endorphins are brain chemicals that are somewhat akin to morphine. They are manufactured and released under various circumstances such as when in pain, when under emotional stress, and of course, when you undertake physical exercise.
Whatever your age, gender, or fitness level, it has been scientifically proven that the endorphins released during exercise provide significant mental health benefits. Here are a few examples of how physical exercise can boost mental health and well-being.
If you get stressed-out at work, just take a short walk or go to the gym for a workout. Exercise like this boosts your body’s levels of norepinephrine; a chemical that can help your brain to handle stress. We see many companies like Build Yourself Fitness who are helping people get fit in their own homes, this added bonus also means people don’t have to travel their gyms, which is extra stress, the comfort of your own home can help these alleviate any stressful conditions that a gym can cause for someone who is out of shape and looking to get fit as well.
Increase levels of feel-good chemicals
The endorphins that are released during exercise create feelings of happiness and well-being. In addition, scientific studies have also shown that these chemicals can help to alleviate the symptoms of those suffering from clinical depression. It’s one of the reasons that doctors often recommend exercise for people suffering from depression. It can be just as effective as antidepressant tablets.
Boost your self-confidence
As you improve your fitness and manage your weight, your levels of self-confidence and self-esteem will also grow. It’s partly to do with the fact that you are bringing about positive changes to body and your well-being, and that you will also be improving your appearance.
Help to postpone cognitive decline
The fact is that as we age, our brains begin to a little more cloudy. What exercise can do for you is to improve the levels of brain chemicals that help to beef-up your brain up against degenerative illnesses like Alzheimer’s and dementia. This is because these chemicals prevent the weakening of the hippocampus.
Increase your brain power
Past studies carried out on test mice and humans have shown that regular physical exercise can boost the power of your brain. A part of the effects of cardiovascular exercise is something called neurogenesis, which means the creation of new brain cells. It also results in the production of a chemical known as BDNF, which is a brain derived protein.
As well as being thought to help with decision-making, BDNF facilitates better thinking and learning capabilities.
Last, but by no means least, physical exercise can improve your memory. This is down to the fact that exercise boosts the manufacture of new cell growth in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that handles memory.
All it takes is 30 minutes 3 or 4 times per week
Just 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, 3 or 4 times per week will not only improve your physical health and well-being, but your mental health too.