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How Fitness Helps with Mental Health

December 12th, 2021

Reduce anxiety and stress

More and more research and study are looking into the relationship between physical activity and mental health. Since the key part of the brain – the hypothalamus connects our body through the nervous system; that’s why when we feel stress, the rest of the body feels the impact as well. Conversely, if our body feels better, so does our mind. Physical activity releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin into our bloodstream. These are the human body’s natural painkillers and quite often give us the “Feel good” sensation after we exercise. Many studies show that people who exercise regularly tend to have a positive mind and lower rates of depression. Exercise also encourages you to go outdoors, which helps to reduce any feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Increased self-esteem and confidence

Sitting in front of a computer screen at work and in front of the TV, all night surely does not help with physical health or self-image. A sedentary lifestyle does little to raise your fitness level, self-confidence, or general sense of well-being. In the modern world, online and social media play a big part in our life. Using social media does appear to be correlated with body image concerns where negative body images and mental illness are often related. By looking fitter and healthier, and feeling physically strong give us the empowering feeling of conquering challenges and being productive, which significantly improves our self-esteem and confidence.

Better sleep

Stress is a common cause of sleep problems, including trouble falling asleep and sleeping restlessly during the night. If you have ever laid in bed worrying about a deadline or feeling anxious for no reason at all, you’re not alone. As mentioned above, regular exercise is great for reducing stress levels. Specifically, aerobic activity can increase sleep quality by reducing the time it takes to fall asleep. Additionally, physical activity can help alleviate daytime sleepiness and, for some people, reduce the need for sleep medications.

Brain boost

Exercise generally increases our heart rate, which in turn pumps more oxygen to the brain, allowing us to be more alert and focused. Exercise also aids the release of hormones, which provide an excellent environment for the growth of new brain cells, resulting in an improved cognitive and functional responses.

Tips for enjoying activity

- Choose something you enjoy. You may like to try different kinds of activities or just stick to one.

- Choose activities that suit you. You may prefer to exercise alone, or with friends and family. Being active with others enhances motivation.

Remember to drink water. Hydration is important.

Set some short and long-term goals but make them realistic. You may want to write down some comments after work out and see how your progress goes.

Don’t beat up on yourself – if you miss a section, it’s not the end of the world. There will always be a chance to try again.

Don’t let cost be a barrier. You don’t have to go to an upmarket gym or wear designer gear. Being out in the fresh is free and nature can lift the spirits.

Create a positive environment. For example, you might prefer to work out at home, or you can listen to your favorite music while being active.

We all know that fitness is essential for a healthy body, for example, exercise reduces the risk of illnesses such as heart and lung disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, but do you know that regular physical activity is just as important for a healthy mind?

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Elyse Lam
Elyse has over 10 years of experience in marketing, specialising in digital marketing and content creation. She confidently spreads her attention across beauty, travel, and lifestyle.
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