Exercise for Mental Health
Exercise is more than a way to boost one’s physical health and to maintain one’s physique. According to research, regular exercising is also beneficial for mental health and has been proven to reduce anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and other personality disorders. It also alleviates stress, chronic illnesses and pain, and negative emotions, leading you to sleep better, an improved memory, and an uplifted mood.
Whatever your age is, exercise can be used as a tool to combat mental health issues.
Exercise and Depression
Studies have shown exercise to help treat mild to moderate depression almost as effectively as an antidepressant does with no side effects. According to a study done by the Harvard School of Public Health, a 15 day running or walking session for an hour eliminates the risk of depression by almost 26 percent, and not only that, but it also prevents a relapse.
Exercise brings changes in the brain that lead towards a sense of calmness, and feelings of well-being. Because it releases endorphins, you feel energized and better. It also serves as a distraction, where you break your cycle of negativity and are forced to focus elsewhere for a while.
Exercise and Anxiety
Just like it works wonders on depression, exercise is a very effective treatment for anxiety. It boosts positivity, releases endorphins, and at the same time relieves stress or tension one has been holding in. Movement helps anxiety, but focusing on the exercise at hand, feeling your feet hit the ground, or noticing your breathing can help calm you down, adding in the element of mindfulness. Not only does it make you physically fit, but it also interrupts all the worries that a person with anxiety carries around constantly.
Exercise and Stress
Have you noticed how your body is heavy when you’re stressed? Your face, arms, shoulders, neck, everything is tensed and clenched, which leads to constant aches. Stress also leads to a feeling of constriction in the chest, a fast pulse, and cramps. Insomnia, headaches, constant urination are just some of the symptoms of stress that lead to additional stress, creating a vicious, unhealthy cycle.
Exercise breaks this apart. It releases endorphins that relax you, relieving all the tension you’re holding in your body. Once your body lets go and relaxes, your mind quickly follows.
Those who suffer from ADHD will know how much energy it takes to concentrate on one thing. Exercising regulates this and improves memory, concentration, and gives you the motivation to carry on. It boosts dopamine and serotonin production, leading to better attention and improved concentration. This makes exercising a great practice for ADHD alongside medications.
Exercise and its Link with PTSD and Trauma
Exercise helps our nervous system let go of what it’s holding on to, and makes it easier for us to move. Paying attention to movement while exercising helps a lot, especially exercise that lets you use both arms and legs like running, walking, swimming, dancing, rock climbing, and more.
If you are considering getting therapy in Southern California, Serene Minds Counseling Services has licensed professionals that conduct individual mental health services, family therapy services, and Couple Counseling in San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, and Redlands. You can also book online sessions if you don’t prefer in-person sessions.
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