Why Exercise Is So Essential for Mental Health


January 24, 2019

"Exercise not only changes your body. It changes your mind, your attitude, and your mood."— ANONYMOUS

You’ve most certainly heard that exercise contributes to the overall health and well-being of an individual. It prevents lifestyle illnesses and chronic miseries like cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, osteoporosis, and premature death. Studies have also found that exercise contributes to mental health, alleviates depression and improves memory, better sleep, and overall mood.

The high-grade part is that you don't need to be a fitness enthusiast to reap its benefits. Two or three hours of exercise a week can significantly present better mental health. However, fitness fanatics have a more significant advantage as the more the exercise, the better the mental health. So, what does exercise do to the overall health of the brain?

Boosts endorphins –the happy chemicals

Ever came across the term “runners-high?” Well, this is a state of euphoria coupled up with decreased anxiety and less ability to feel tired or pain, which often comes after extensive aerobic activity.

Your brain is typically releasing vast amounts of endorphins which make you feel happy and good after these strenuous activities. The more the workout the more the release of endorphins.

Reduces stress

When we're stressed, our minds get overwhelmed and our bodies get overly tensed; our muscle tightens, the chest feels tight and hard, topped up with a severe headache or a migraine.

Other signs like insomnia, stomach aches, and heartburns may take over depending on the stress levels. Exercise reduces stress by relaxing the muscles, relieving the body tension, and improving the overall mood. When your body feels good, your mind feels better.

Prevents cognitive decline

Exercise allows the growth of new brain cells. Each time you work out, your body and mind become quite active. The brain replaces old cells with new cells automatically which boosts and improve the mental health. The growth of the new cells prevents age-related neural-decline.

Improves IQ and memory

The released endorphins do not just make you feel good but improve your levels of concentration too. They help you focus on the issues at hand. Studies have found that many parts of the brain that control memory and thinking can be exercised for more substantial results. When these parts are exercised, they sharpen the mind and increase the IQ.

Our minds, as well as our bodies, are developing every day. When we exercise, we don't just improve our overall body health but also our mental health. Remember that you don’t need to spend long hours at the gym to experience the difference. A simple exercise like walking, running and other everyday activities can go a long way towards improving your mental health.