Exercise Smarter to Boost Your Mental Health

It’s a no-brainer that regular physical activity promotes overall wellness. Most of us are aware of the physical benefits of exercise[1]: weight management, improvement in cardiovascular health, strengthening of muscles and bones, increased energy, and reduced risk of diabetes and certain cancers, to name a few. But, the benefits of breaking a sweat do not end at just physiological fitness. Did you know exercise can boost your mood, improve your sleep, keep your memory sharp, and help you cope with anxiety, depression, and stress?

Physiological health and psychological health are closely related. What is good for your body is often good for your mind. Believe it or not, exercise is a powerful tool to tackle psychological issues, improve energy levels and get the most mileage out of your life. Feeling lazy to work out daily or unsure of where to start? The five mental health benefits of exercise below will have you tying up your shoelaces and making a move.

Exercise can act as a tool against depression and anxiety:
 Did you know even moderate exercise can treat mild-to-moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant drugs with zero side effects? Recent literature[2][3] has demonstrated that higher physical activity levels reduce symptoms for persons with depression and anxiety. Exercise promotes neural growth, promotes a sense of calm, reduces inflammation, triggers anti-anxiety effects, and releases endorphins (feel-good chemicals), as well as serves as a distraction.

Exercise is a healthy stress reliever:
 According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America[4], exercise effectively relieves stress, tension, and weariness and elevates your mood. When stress affects your brain, the remaining body parts also feel the impact. If your body feels good, so does your mind. Increasing heart rate stimulates the norepinephrine synthesis that in turn results in reducing stress, and improving cognition and mood. Physical activity also improves your body’s response to stress.

Exercise gives you a whopping boost of self-esteem and confidence: 
Studies have shown a positive relationship between exercise and self-esteem. In the short-term, exercise acts as a mood lifter and puts you in a positive state of mind. As a long-term effect, physical activity makes you feel good about your physical self and fitness levels. You’ll definitely feel self-satisfaction and a confidence boost.

Exercise promotes better sleep: 
Tossing and turning all night long? Don’t worry; try sticking to a regular workout routine. How does exercise influence sleep? Exercise makes your core body temperature rise. Once you finish your workout, the body temperature decreases, and this drop offers calming effects. This can result in less sheep-counting and more shut-eye. Exercise during the day leads to the earlier release of melatonin, and you may fall asleep quicker. Regular physical activity positively impacts your psychological wellness and mood, both of which can be connected to your sleep quality

Exercise sharpens your memory: 
When you get your body moving, the feel-good neurotransmitters (or endorphins) are released, and this can improve your cognitive abilities, enhance concentration, and promote brain cell growth. Research[5] has suggested that both acute and chronic exercise improves memory performance.

Amazed by the psychological benefits of exercise? Try incorporating oxygen into your exercise regimen and Oxygen Enhanced Exercise will let you start your new life of energy. Read more>>