We all know that exercising is good for you. You may choose to exercise to reap the obvious physical health benefits, but did you know that these benefits also extend to your mental health? Adapting an exercise or workout routine significantly improves your mood and sleep quality and reduces depression, stress, and anxiety symptoms.
When we exercise, chemicals like serotonin and endorphins are released, which evoke excellent moods. Therefore, exercising on a regular basis reduces stress and other symptoms that are the foundations of mental health disorders.
It has also been well-established that exercise aids in mental health recovery. One study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health revealed that exercise helps treat mild to moderate depression with the same results as taking antidepressant medications, excluding the side effects. Despite having a tight schedule, you can afford to run for at least fifteen minutes or walk for an hour, which is all you need to minimise the chances of major depression by 26%. Apart from treating the symptoms associated with depression, it can also prevent a relapse.
What happens when we exercise?
Several changes happen to our brains, including neural growth, reduced inflammation levels, and activity patterns that bring about calm feelings and general well-being. Exercise is also a distractive tool to get some quiet time and break from the cycle of negative thoughts that facilitate depression and other mental health problems.
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Besides mental health benefits, exercise can make you smarter. As you exercise, blood gets pumped into your brain, enabling you to think clearer. To be precise, it increases the hippocampus size, which is a part of the brain responsible for our memories. In addition, it increases the nerve cell connections in the brain. Therefore, improving your memory and protecting the brain from injury and disease.
How much exercise do you need to relish the mental health benefits?
You are probably wondering the level of exercise that can make you a benefactor of the above benefits. The Australian guidelines recommend that adults partake in moderate to intensive activities on most days of the week. The more, the better. You do not have to cover all the required time at once. Consider short sessions of ten to fifteen minutes throughout the day. If you don’t want go out then you can go with buy home gym equipment like cross trainer, bech, etc
Do you need a gym membership to exercise?
We are often held back from exercising by various factors, one being the costs associated with a gym membership. However, we have some solutions for you. Find a local community centre near you, which usually incorporates cost-effective exercise groups. Another option is the free outdoor equipment stations in our local parks. If you have a medical policy, some private health insurance companies are offering rebates for gym memberships as a package of a mental health plan. Therefore, check with your insurance provider to determine if it’s included.
Once you can manage your schedule and create time to train, it brings about a sense of accomplishment, even if it’s not intense activity. Besides, we spend the most time on screens in all aspects of our lives. We breathe technology, and getting away from these addictions and finding refuge in exercise is in itself therapeutic. While at it, you get some headspace for new perspectives about your life and those close to you.
Remember that adopting healthy exercise routines is a process that takes time. The best results are usually associated with incremental progress, which also prevents injury. If you keep waiting for the right time to get the proper gear and step out, now is the time. Start by training, and slowly, you will pick up the motivation that will keep you going. With that, go out there and get yourself the physical and mental health benefits you are missing!