We all know that physical exercise improves our physique, trims our waistline, and boosts our sex life but still, it is not enough to motivate most people to stay active. You might not be aware that physical activity also benefits your mental health and well-being. Mental health ailments like depression or anxiety are not easy to treat. Medication eases the symptoms but may bring nasty side effects. In addition, talk therapies are time-consuming and expensive. So least disruptive and cheapest of managing mental illness is physical exercise.
What is Mental Illness?
Just like we get physical health problems like fever or sore throat, the parts of our brain get sick from time to time. It is known as mental illness. Mental disorders are a group of diseases that affect the mind. The most common ones you might have heard of are depression and anxiety.
We all experience various feelings now and then; Anxious, joyful, deserted, thrilled, or furious. Sometimes bad feelings last longer than usual and affect our daily lives, jobs, or school. But mostly, people find it difficult to talk about mental health. The appropriate treatment can help ease the symptoms.
How Physical Exercise Can Help with Mental Health
Our mental and physical health are connected. But unfortunately, people experiencing mental illness find it hard to engage in physical activity. Still, after reading the fantastic benefits of exercise, we hope you will convince yourself to exercise regularly for your mental well-being.
It is challenging to handle depression. It not only makes you feel low but also affects your quality of life. The anti-depressants take several weeks to show their full effect. But physical exercise immediately improves your mood by reducing cortisol and adrenaline hormone levels.
Regulates Your Mood
Physical exercise causes the release of endorphins that make you feel good about yourself and relieve stress. In addition, it stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which all play an essential role in regulating your mood.
Maintains the Life of Brain Cells
Physical activity releases a vital chemical in the brain known as BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). It acts as a fertilizer for your brain cells. It is a protein that helps maintain the life of brain cells and promotes the growth of new and healthy cells.
Exercises that Improve Mental Health
Yoga reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. In addition, it strengthens your social attachments and is beneficial in controlling negative thoughts.
When you do yoga, your brain cells start to develop new connections and make changes in the brain’s structure and function. As a result, it plays a significant role in improving memory, focus, and thoughts.
Running is one of the right exercises you can try to improve your mental health. It controls your negative thoughts and improves your focus on positivity.
Outdoor exercise with eco-therapy is equally effective as anti-depressants. Running helps you to lose weight, prevent dark thoughts, and make you feel happier.
Ten-minute daily swimming can improve your mental health. It releases endorphins in the brain, makes you feel good, and increases positivity. In addition, being in water increases the blood flow to the brain, keeps your brain healthy, and protects it against harmful toxins.
The cycling boosts the blood circulation in the body, allowing for the faster spread of endorphins, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin which all improve your mood.
Cycling promotes self-esteem, reduces depression and anxiety, and helps you sleep better. Regular cycling has a relaxing effect on the brain. In addition, it stabilizes physical and mental function.