Exercise comes with a ton of benefits. Talk of weight control, trimming your waist, staying healthy, self-confidence and much more! But are there any benefits of exercise on mental health? Let's take a closer look --- even though you probably guessed right already.
Does Exercise Help Reduce Stress?
Yes, and in many ways. Exercise has long been a top recommendation for those suffering from stress and related symptoms. The direct stress-reducing effects of exercising include:
- Increase in endorphin Levels: the amount of feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain often increases during physical activity. The effects also last after the exercise. This sensation is also called the "runner's high." However, this doesn't mean the physical activity must involve running. Any aerobics exercise can give your endorphins a boost.
- Distraction from worries: the repetitive motions you make during exercise help take your mind off your troubles and worries. As you focus on the movement of your body, you also rip most of the benefits of meditation. For instance, you get a sense of energy and optimism, which helps you stay clear, calm, and focused during your daily activities.
- Elevated mood: you may notice a positive effect on your mood right after exercise. Additionally, regular exercise may help with relaxation, raise your self-confidence, and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. These effects could pile up and eventually stick with consistent regular exercise.
Other Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health
Exercise for ADHD Therapy
One of the symptoms of ADHD in adults is usually low dopamine levels. The higher levels of neurotransmitters (including dopamine) achieved during exercise help curb the effects of ADHD by increasing attention and mental clarity.
Exercise may also improve the execution of functions and minimize compulsive behavior.
- Exercise for PTSD therapy: evidence suggests that exercise can add value to PTSD treatment. So far, there is no cure for PTSD, which makes exercise a very valuable solution. It can help with PTSD by reducing anxiety and elevating mood, thereby potentially helping minimize PTSD manifestation.
- Memory and thinking: besides helping with stress and ADHD, endorphins also help with general sharpness and thinking. Moreover, exercise promotes the formation of new brain cells, helping slow down the age-related decline in mental capabilities.
- Improved sleep: exercise has long been recommended to those suffering insomnia and poor quality sleep. It doesn't matter what time you exercise. You may still enjoy deeper, more relaxing sleep from even short bursts of exercise.
- Resilience: whenever you undergo emotional difficulties in life, exercise is a much more reasonable way of coping with the circumstances than doing nothing or abusing drugs and alcohol.