Exercise is vital for our bodies. For years exercises have been the focus of physical health, however, more and more research is showing the benefits for our mental health. From August 2020 to February 2021 the United State alone saw an increase in depressive and anxious symptoms in 41% of adults! Now more than ever it is important for individuals to find healthy lifestyle habits to enhance their overall mental and physical health!
The Importance of Exercise
Regular exercise (3-5 days/ week, 150 minutes of light to moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise) can prevent a multitude of physical diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. It also helps us to maintain a healthy weight and boost our energy.
The Amazing Benefits
1- It has been scientifically proven to decrease depressive and anxious symptoms while boosting our overall mood. When our bodies move, a chemical referred to as endorphin is released in the brain, creating feelings of euphoria and happiness. (Walden University, 2022).
2-In order to reduce the harmful effects of stress on the body regular exercise allows our bodies to imitate our natural fight or flight responses. While exercising, we are able to complete the system and boost our digestive, immune, and cardiovascular systems to work more efficiently (Mayo Clinic, 2020).
3- To build our intelligence, and strengthen our memory regular exercise is needed! Several studies on mice and humans have shown that cardiovascular exercise creates new brain cells and improves overall brain performance, boosting our mental clarity, energy, and creativity (Walden University, 2022).
4- According to the sleep experts at the Sleep Foundation, moderate to vigorous exercise can not only reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep but also reduces the number of times we wake up in the middle of the night. Due to the increased release of endorphins, regular exercise can also limit daytime sleepiness. In one of their sleep polls, it was documented that 76-83% of respondents, aged 23-60, who exercised at any performance level experienced very good or fairly good quality of sleep on a regular basis (Sleep Foundation, 2022).
5- We can expect to see an increase in our self-confidence and self-esteem while participating in an exercise routine. With all of the benefits of improved mood, better sleep, better brain functioning, and physical improvements, it is hard to imagine we wouldn't feel amazing after a workout.