We all know that exercise is good for us. But did you know that exercise also helps improve our mental health and well-being? Surprisingly, many brain-related conditions like depression, anxiety, memory challenges and even mood swings can be improved through a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise.
So regardless of what you do to keep fit, from yoga to hiking, it’s also beneficial for your brain. Here are 5 ways exercise can improve your mental health:
1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Without a doubt, life brings stresses and anxieties. A heavy job workload, money challenges, conflicts and lack of time can all impact our mental health. We need to find ways to reduce these pressures—and the great news is that physical activity can make a real difference.
Research has shown that exercise increases the concentration of certain chemicals that help to control our brain’s response to anxiety and stress. So, gear up against stress and find some time to exercise.
2. Charges up your Happy Mood
We need to trust the research that shows even 15 to 30 minutes spent exercising produces endorphins – the chemicals responsible for a happier and more positive frame of mind.
Take a brisk walk or hit the gym and see the difference for yourself. A few minutes of exercise every other day can do wonders for your mood.
3. Improves your Brainpower
Healthy levels of exercise help your brain cells. Scientists have found that exercise releases certain proteins that are solely responsible for cognitive sharpness, creativity, higher levels of thinking and learning.
Need to make some big decisions? Do some healthy physical activity to increase your brain power and creativity.
4. Boosts Your Memory
Research has shown a direct correlation between exercise and improved memory. No matter your age, working out regularly can do wonders for recall and retention. Get fit and stay sharp through regular exercise.
5. Can Help Control Addiction
Addiction to any activity or drug can severely affect your physical and mental health. But one of the surprising benefits of exercise is that it can help people recover from addiction. Studies show that adding physical activities to other addiction treatments can help individuals on the road to recovery.
Convinced? We hope you’re motivated to exercise now that you know how much of an impact it can have on your mental health and well-being.
Want to take the first step and get started? Check out North Vancouver Recreation & Culture’s New to Fitness for ideas on how to get more active.