Many of us love working out to get that aesthetic physique and look our best, but apparently, there's more to exercise than just getting your body in shape. It has loads of other underlying benefits as well, which many of us don't have an eye for. One of these is improving our mental health.
Exercise keeps our body fit and healthy, which in turn helps improves our mental health. For instance, a workout improves sleep, memory and well-being in an individual. Activities such as weightlifting and any other form of exercise, in general, keep people engaged and motivated. But, these are only a few of the many lesser-known benefits that exercising has to offer.
Why does exercise improve Mental Health?
Research has proved that exercise is a natural stimulant. But why is it so beneficial for our mental health? Actually, it is because exercise helps our bodies in producing more endorphins, dopamine and Serotonin. Endorphins are neurotransmitters and help release anxiety and stress.
On the other hand, Serotonin improves sleep and mood, which explains why working out can be a great mood booster. Like endorphins, dopamine is also a neurotransmitter. It improves focus, memory, and mood, among countless other functions that it performs. It is the chemical in our brain that makes us feel good and energetic.
Stimulant against Mental diseases
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to release stress. Like mentioned before, exercise gets endorphins pumping through your body, and this, in turn, acts as a stress relief. Basically, exercise makes your muscles work, and once you're done, it leaves your body feeling good and satisfied. And, if your body's feeling good, then so is your mind.
According to a study, sedentary and less active people are at a significantly higher risk of developing anxiety than those who stay active. Any physical activity gets your pulse rate up, raising the serotonin level in your body. Regularly exercising makes your brain more resilient to anxiety and to the emotions that can become the cause of anxiety.
Fight against Depression
Endorphins and dopamine released during a workout session play a vital role in dealing with depression. Dopamine is the feel-good chemical released by our brain, and well, as you might have already guessed, it makes us feel good. In the journal Depression and Anxiety, it was proved that people who contribute some hours to exercise every week are highly unlikely to suffer from an episode of depression, even if they are genetically more inclined towards the condition.
Helps deal with Insomnia
Insomnia can often, but not necessarily, be a consequence of depression and anxiety. This could be because stressful thoughts can easily take away a man's sleep. So, the release of endorphins can positively impact our sleeping ability as well.
Moreover, it is quite natural to feel tired and crave a good night's sleep after a workout session, which helps in improving our sleep patterns. In fact, there is a study that claims that physically active people tend to sleep faster than those who don't exercise that often.
Apart from these, physical activity, in general, helps deal with all sorts of mental conditions, which include trauma and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It also improves focus and memory, reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
What exercise should I do?
As such, there is no specific exercise that benefits more than the rest. It's all up to you. Whether it's cycling, running, hooping a basketball, or dropping and lifting weights, you can do whatever you please. However, it is believed that weight training could be slightly better because it can help release neurotransmitters like endorphins in a greater number. But, there is no evidence to back this up at the moment.
Exercise could be both a prevention method as well as a cure for mental diseases. And although we highly recommend checking with a doctor if you feel you could have any mental issues, we also suggest exercising and working out since there is no downside. It will definitely improve your self-esteem and take your mind off things that have been making you feel down lately.