The Effects Exercise has on Mental health
Exercising is not just about trying to change our bodies, regularly exercising of course can lead to better fitness and change your physical appearance but a major effect of exercising is the benefits it can have on your mental health. Regularly exercising can lead to having more energy during the day as well as a better night’s sleep. Studies have shown that exercise can perform as an antidepressant for mild to moderate cases. It causes changes in the brain and releases endorphins which make you feel good and improve well-being.
Exercising is also effective with battling anxiety by relieving stress and focusing the mind and body on the workout thus helping to stop worrying and anxiety, combined with the endorphins being released to promote a good mood. Physical activity also leads to an increase in the brain’s levels of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine which can all help with attention and focus, this is turn can help with reducing symptoms of ADHD.
Sometimes exercising when we have low mood or anxiety can seem too overwhelming – it doesn’t have to be! Start small: 5-10 minutes a day of moving your body in whatever way feels good, whether it be a walk, some yoga moves or running up and down the stairs. You will find you have more energy and slowly you can increase this time when it feels manageable. Think of exercising as a form of self-care, instead of punishing your body for everything its not, focus on physical activity as a priority for your mental well-being and looking after your physical health. Set yourself small targets, forget about physical attributes to begin with and concentrate on small fitness goals such as being able to do a full sit up or row for 2 minutes, this will help to retrain your mind in how you perceive exercising and improve how you think about yourself.
The most important thing to exercising for your own mental well-being is to enjoy it! Try out different things and see what works best for you, this will help you to sustain physical activity in a regular basis in the future. Make it social – training with friends or family not only make it more fun but it can help you be accountable and stick to your routine. Most importantly, listen to your body! If you want to exercise, go ahead, and make it a priority. If your body is telling you no, or its too much mentally to exercise one day then do not feel guilty about taking a day off – wake up and start a new day fresh, leaving yesterday behind.