Jack LaLanne, nicknamed the Godfather of modern fitness, exercised until the day before he died at 96. He once said, “Exercise is the catalyst. That’s what makes everything happen: your digestion, your elimination, your sex life, your skin, hair, everything about you depends on circulation.”
Well, many people hit the gym or go outdoors (for cycling, jogging, and swimming) because exercise improves their heart rate, pumps more blood to the brain, builds muscles, and of course makes them go from fat to fit naturally.
However, scientists believe that the benefits of exercising don’t just end there. They claim that regular physical exercise can help boost your mental health by boosting your brain function. No matter how old you are or how fit (or unfit) you’re, exercising on a daily basis can gift you with some serious mental benefits for lifetime.
Here are six unexpected ways how exercise can help improve your mental health:
1. Reduces stress
Having a stressful day at the office? Take a walk or hit the gym. Exercising is a great way to calm your nerves and shift your focus a bit, and you’ll start experiencing mental benefits almost instantly. One of the biggest benefits of exercise is that it acts as a stress-buster and keeps you mentally stable during stressful times.
By improving blood circulation to the brain, exercise boosts the production of norepinephrine, a chemical that regulates stress and improves concentration. So, the next time you’re mentally exhausted or stressed out, just get off your seat and do any form of exercise for a few good minutes. You’ll experience the mental benefits almost instantly.
2. Boosts the production of ‘happy’ chemicals
Covering a few miles on the treadmill can be tough, but at the end of the day, it’s worth the effort. Exercise releases endorphins that control feelings like happiness and excitement. The regular you exercise, the better the production of essential chemicals will be in your body. Many doctors recommend exercise for depression and anxiety.
The effects of exercise on your mood can be even more profound than any antidepressant pill or medication. You don’t have to be a gym rat to reap the benefits of exercise; all you need to do is just sneak in 30 minutes of workout time in your daily routine.
3. Improves confidence and self-esteem
The best way to get back your beachbody is to exercise, exercise, and exercise. Having a well-toned body makes you feel good and look good at the same time. The better you look, the more your confidence and self-esteem will be. Won’t you feel confident about yourself when have a sexy body that attracts the opposite sex like bees to honey?
4. Outdoor exercises for Vitamin D
To enhance the experience, take your workout outdoors. No matter how stressed out you’re, spending time in the nature can help relieve stress, and when that’s coupled with exercise, you get superior results. Choose a simple outdoor activity that suits you – it can be jogging, cycling, swimming, hiking, or any other of your choice. Do it every day and you will be able to burn a good amount of calories while having fun.
What’s more, by soaking up in the sun, your body gets a healthy dose of vitamin D, which is otherwise hard to get via food and packaged supplements. In turn, you’ll start seeing yourself getting relieved from emotional problems like stress and depression.
5. Boosts brainpower
Laboratory studies conducted on rats and men have proved that cardiovascular exercises help generate new brain cells and eventually result in a healthier brain. It has also been found that exercise fosters brain-specific protein called BDNF which is linked to the decision making, thinking, and learning skills of an individual.
6. Helps control addiction
The brain reacts to any form of pleasure-sensitive stuff like exercise, sex, drugs, tobacco, and alcohol by releasing a reward chemical called dopamine, which in turns makes people want more of what they’re taking, because it gives them ‘pleasure’. However, the good thing is, exercise can help release chemicals and aid in addiction recovery. It can not only be a distraction from unhealthy addictions but also help in the recovery and improvement of the person’s physical and mental well-being.
Improve Your mental health
These are some of the unexpected ways exercise improves your mental health.
So, if you have been finding lazy excuses to sneak in some ‘exercise minutes’ in your daily routine, then it’s probably time to change things for good.
And improve your body and mind at the same time.
Now, that’s a double whammy!
About the Author:
Evelyn is a fitness writer at garagegymplanner.com. She writes regularly on topics revolving around exercise and diet and helps educate readers on the best ways to improve their health and looks naturall