Friday Mar 03, 2023
Scientists have known for a while that exercise is essential not only for physical health but also for mental health.
When we exercise, our body releases endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals that can improve our mood and reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Neuroscientists will tell you that exercise releases several other hormones that are meant to make humans feel better.
Other than the strictly biological aspect, exercise can also increase our self-esteem, improve our sleep quality, and boost our cognitive function. Therefore, incorporating exercise into our daily routine can have significant benefits for our mental health.
Cardiovascular exercises, also known as aerobic exercises, are an excellent and known way to improve mental health. These exercises include activities such as running, cycling, swimming, and dancing. Cardiovascular exercises do not just improve heart health but also increase blood flow to the brain, which can improve cognitive function and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. These exercises also reportedly release endorphins, which can elevate our mood and reduce stress levels. Regular cardiovascular exercise might also improve our sleep quality, which is essential for maintaining good mental health.
Strength training exercises involve resistance or weight training and can be an effective way to improve mental health. These exercises can increase our muscle strength and improve our posture, which can boost our self-esteem and confidence. Some experts also believe that strength training can make muscles release important hormones. Strength training can also improve our cognitive function, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and increase our energy levels. It can help reduce chronic pain, which can contribute to poor mental health.
Mind-body exercises are activities that involve a combination of physical movement and mindfulness, such as yoga and Pilates. These exercises can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress by promoting relaxation and mindfulness. Many studies have shown that mind-body exercises are effective, however, each person may have different needs. Mind-body exercises can also improve our balance and flexibility, which can help prevent injuries and increase our overall physical health. These exercises can promote feelings of inner peace and calmness.
Outdoor activities, such as trekking, gardening, and swimming, can have significant benefits for our mental health. Being outdoors can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, improve our mood, and increase our energy levels. They can also expose us to sunlight which is a good source of not just vitamin D but several other benefits. Outdoor activities can also provide us with a sense of connection to nature, which can promote feelings of well-being and happiness. Additionally, outdoor activities can provide us with an opportunity to socialise with others, which is essential for maintaining good mental health.