Medical professionals, spouses and families are always urging us to exercise, and for good reasons. There are many physical health benefits to exercise, aside from the obvious ones of losing weight, building muscle mass and fitting into our old clothes. Some of these benefits include lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease and easier breathing. However, did you know that there are psychological benefits as well? Regular exercise has been shown to improve your mental health.
Keep in mind that when we say exercise, we don’t just mean going to the gym and pumping iron until your very existence hurts the next morning. Even if you simply go out to walk for 15 to 30 minutes every day, you will experience some of the psychological benefits of regular exercise. You don’t have to overexert yourself to enjoy the payoffs of exercise—you just have to give it an effort.
Exercising Reduces Stress – Even a short workout will reduce stress for those who dedicate themselves to it. Working up a sweat helps to manage physical and mental stress through steady breathing and exertion of pent-up energy. Exercise will increase the release of a chemical in the brain known as Norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that is instrumental in the brain’s governing of stress, which is caused by a chemical called Cortisol. Steady exercise helps your body deal with mental and physical stress and tension, and also prepares your mind for stressful events in the future.
Exercise Helps to Alleviate Depression – It can be tough to start exercising and push through the fatigue until you’re finished, but it pays off in the long run! Exercise causes the brain to release chemicals known as Endorphins, which are known to create feelings of happiness and euphoria. A few 30-minute workout sessions a week can create enough endorphins that some believe at least as effective, if not more, than traditional anti-depressant medications. Before you resort to pharmaceuticals, pencil in a few hours of gym time a week. You’ll feel better and look better.
Exercising Boosts Self-Image – Spending time improving your health and physique will increase your self-esteem immensely, creating a heightened feeling of attractiveness and self-worth. If that’s not an incentive to work out, I don’t know what is.
Sunshine: It Cheers You Up – Ever heard someone who’s generally cheery and positive described as a “ray of sunshine?” There’s a reason for that, the sun’s rays are full of Vitamin D. Assuming that you wear sunscreen, outdoor exertion will allow your body to absorb this important nutrient, which reduces the likelihood of having symptoms of depression.
Exercise Boosts Health and Fights Disease – If you’re concerned about heart disease, high blood pressure, your weight and/or your cholesterol levels, exercise is probably the right choice for you. Actively exercising boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and decreases triglyceride levels in the body. HDL is considered the body’s “good cholesterol,” While triglycerides are used to measure heart health and should be kept fairly low. Aside from these benefits, exercise will also reduce the risk of stroke, diabetes, some types of cancer, depression, arthritis and Metabolic Syndrome.
When there are mental health concerns to consider, you should supplement your exercise regiment with stress management techniques. Counseling should also be considered if the concerns are severe or prolonged. To talk to one of our specialists about stress management, please contact us today at 219.200.4676. We’re also a trusted source for pain management in Crown Point, IN and many surrounding regions.