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How fitness influences your mental health

Working out strenghtens more than just your muscles

Fitness and mental health

Benefits of working out

How fitness influences your mental health: endorphins and enkephalins – the body’s natural feel-good hormones are getting released whenever you work out

We all know that exercise can help us to lose weight, reduce the risk of heart diseases, help manage the blood sugar and insulin levels, can strengthen bones and muscles, improve sleep and can reduce the risk of getting cancers like colon, breast, lung and uterine. However, one thing that we don’t often hear or realize is exercise can help us with our mental health.
So here’s how fitness influences your mental health:

Staying fit – mentally, not just physically

It doesn’t simply help us to be fit and healthy physically, but even mentally. We’re living in a generation where people are SAD (Stressed, Anxious, Depressed)and even if we deny it, it is a fact of life. Rates of depression and anxiety cases rose up in countries like the U.K., U.S., China, and India and this because of the ‘modern life’ that we’re currently in.

At first, it looks ironic – because in the past centuries no one talked about depression often, but it rose up, especially for those who are in the Gen Y and Gen Z people. As technology improves, everyone becomes competitive and fast.

Stronger wifi – weaker relationships

Some of the causes of depression in this generation are the weaker relationships, regardless if it’s between our family, friends, or significant others. In some cases, the reasons why we have weaker relationships are because we are more focused on ourselves such as our goals, fame, money, etc. There are, of course, lots of reasons behind depression, but those are some.

Those said, we need a solution, instead of worrying about it.

Staying active has a positive impact on stress, anxiety, depression, etc. Exercise helps to boost the overall mood for it stimulates the body to produce endorphins and enkephalins which is the body’s natural feel-good hormones. Exercise directly affects the brain, which causes to have a better blood supply that improves neuronal health by improving the delivery of oxygen and nutrients in the brain. This makes us feel better as we exercise more.

How fitness influences your mental health:
What are the benefits of staying active?

  • Reduce stress

The level of stress depends on what kind of lifestyle we have – we can be packed with workloads in the office, struggling with school activities like projects, exams, thesis. It can also be because people who stress us out for different reasons, our needs, problems – it could be anything. Stress is inevitable, but exercise can help us to loosen up. Exercise is a good stress reliever and it increases norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress. Working out might be a bit exhausting at first, but it gives refreshment after!

  • Reduce anxiety & depression

Exercise is a scientifically proven mood booster that decreases anxiety and depression triggers. Endorphin levels arise and this ‘feel good’ chemical produced by the brain and spinal cord results in feelings of happiness or even euphoria. Aside from being an anti-depressant, it can also be used as a diversion from the overwhelming thoughts that comes from the mind.

  • Boost of self-esteem

Some people who are experiencing depression have low self-esteem, and staying active will help them to boost it for it will make them feel better about their appearance. Setting goals in working out can challenge them and give them the motivation why they’ll do it – that is for their own good. Making it a habit makes a person have a sense of achievement. It is good for the mind, body, and soul. 

  • Can gain more social interaction or friends

When we exercise, we can meet people along the way – whether they’re in the gym or outdoors while jogging, seeing people or talking to them gives relief, especially if we can talk about our fitness goals. One another thing is, winning friends is also good for mental health because the right people can lift up our spirits.

find people sharing your interests and build new, uplifting friendships
  • Enables to have quality sleep

Stress, anxiety, and depression causes an individual to either sleep less or oversleep and wake up not feeling energized, but even tired. Physical activities increase the body’s temperature which causes the mind to be calm that enables the person to have better sleep than usual. Especially if the exercise is done outdoors where daylight can be absorbed. Moreover, it also prevents insomnia.

  • Clears up the mind and makes it sharper

Anxiety and depression cause someone to be bad at decision-making skills. Exercise increases the heart rate that promotes the blood flow and oxygen in the brain and enhances the growth of brain cells. It can help you focus and stay on task. This can help you understand everything deeply and focus on what really matters, and making better decisions count.

  • Help control addiction

Struggling with addiction like alcohol, nicotine, cocaine or other types that need to be withdrawn? Here’s the good news – exercise sessions can effectively distract drug or alcohol addicts making them de-prioritize their cravings.

  • Cope in a healthy way

Exercising is a healthy coping strategy in managing stress, anxiety, and depression. It helps the heavy feeling go away on its own to avoid things from getting worse.

  • Be more productive
How fitness influences your mental health: less stress, fewer worries -more action

Less stress, fewer worries, more action. When exercise boosts our energy for the day, it will enable us to have more goals, do more, accomplish more. Not just we’ll be more productive, but accomplishing more can also boost self-esteem when we see the outcome of our efforts – mainly because our energy was boosted from the exercise.

  • Inspire others

When we manage to live a healthier life by exercising – by being more relaxed, productive, having a night of better sleep, improving self-worth, and gaining confidence, we can be an inspiration to those people who had the same struggle. This way, we’re not the only one who’ll reap the benefits of exercise, but others too because they’ll see how exercise can improve mental health, which can make them consider it too.

Regular exercise has lots of benefits for our mind, body, and soul. It can be an extra effort at first, but including it in our lifestyles will make up reap its benefits little by little, especially if we know how effective it is.

In the mood to move now? Check out our “Training Archives” to start your fitness journey off the right way!

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