Ten ways how Exercise can benefit your Mental Health

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We keep hearing from experts that exercise is good for us but we often end up finding excuses for not exercising. This holds more true when we are stressed and do not sleep well or when we are depressed and do not feel like stepping out of our homes. Nowadays the fear of contracting the SARS-Cov-2 infection has also caused many people to stay indoors or avoid exercising. But any of this should not deter us from exercising. In this post we shall give you 10 solid good reasons to exercise daily.

What kind of Exercise Do I need ?

First of all, let me clarify that exercise does not necessarily mean pumping iron in the gym or swimming or running, etc. Any activity that increases your heart rate by 50-75  % of your normal heart rate is considered exercise and is beneficial to your body. That means going up a few flights of stairs, dancing to your favorite music, biking, playing with your kid, walking briskly, skipping or even vigorous sex can all be counted as exercise!

How much Exercise do I need ?

Twenty five minutes of any physical activity daily is all you need to stay healthy.

What is the Connection between Exercise and Mental Health ?

Exercise not only keeps our heart, bones and muscles strong but also improves our mental well-being. Let me tell you how.

Exercise gives us an emotional high and causes a surge of hormones that makes us feel happy and elated. That is why you will find some ultra marathoners addicted to working out intensely.

 1. According  Dr. Sara Gottfried , the author of ” Hormone Reset Diet”, exercise affects the levels of five important hormones that impact our physical and mental fitness: irisin, estrogen, testosterone, human growth hormone, and cortisol.

2. There is evidence that exercise improves the levels of neurotransmitter Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), BDNF  helps stimulate the production of new cells in the brain and improves cognitive function.

3.According to Health Direct, exercise is linked to better serotonin levels, and increased serotonin can help combat depression, anxiety, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

4.When we are exposed to the sun, our body synthetizes the bone strengthening  Vitamin  D .There is now evidence linking  Vitamin D to have a modulating effect on the serotonin levels.

Here are a 10 benefits of being physically active 

1.Less tension, stress, and mental fatigue – As is common knowledge now, when we exercise, our brain releases endorphins, which makes us feel happy and less stressed out.

2 Improved Energy Levels  – Regular exercise can improve not just physical but also mental stamina. That long run motivates you to not give up easily and makes you mentally tougher.

3.Improved Sleep – A less stressed mind can sleep better and a recharged brain focuses better.

4. A sense of achievement – Taking part in a form of physical activity that you enjoy can give you a goal to aim for and a sense of purpose. Achieving those small goals makes you more optimistic in life.

5.Better focus in life and motivation  Leading an active life can help to improve your feelings of self-worth and foster confidence

6.Better control over anger – or frustration – The surge in feel-good hormones and the one-track pursuit can help in better control over one’s negative feelings.

7.A healthy appetite – Regular exercise can stir up a healthy appetite and eating well makes you feel better. Just make sure that you always include lots of fruit, vegetable, and nuts in your diet.

8. A boost to social life – One can meet many like-minded people when pursuing your interest and establishing and maintaining those connections can make you feel better.

9.Detoxifies your body – All that drinking water and perspiring helps the body to get rid of toxins and stress hormones (yes!) and makes you feel good.

10.It’s Fun! That needs no explanation and is the biggest motivation of all.

The author after running her second half marathon

I’m sure by now you are convinced enough to  get moving and if the pandemic permits, get outdoors as much as possible. We don’t need to run marathons to harness all the benefits of exercise. Whatever be your limitations and whatever be your challenges -just find your own small ways to be a bit more active.  

                     ” This post is a part of Blogchatter’s initiative #CauseAChatter “

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