We all know that exercise is really really good for our body. But how many of us know how good it is for our mental makeup?
Research has shown that exercise can be an important element in promoting better mental health along with better physical health. So what are the different ways in which exercise impacts our brains and mind?
Here are 4 things you can do to rid your head of fear or worry and find your balance.
1. Release of Happy Chemicals
Our brains relate exercise to stress and prompt release of certain chemicals like endorphins, dopamine and the protein BDNF (Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor). These chemicals are released to reduce the feeling of pain and discomfort of exercise, but they also trigger the happy parts of our brain and are associated with feelings of pleasure and euphoria.
2. Helps De-stress
Regular exercise exposes our body to moderate levels of stress on a regular basis. This enables our body to become better accustomed to handling actual stress. If our body is better able to handle stress, we find it easier to recover from its negative impact and stay happy.
3. Reduces Anxiety & Depression
Studies have found that exercise has a similar impact in the brain as anti-depressants. While the exact science of how it works is still being deliberated on, many studies have proven the efficacy of exercise in relieving the symptoms of depression and anxiety to the extent where it is being considered as an important element in treatment.
4. Reduces Insomnia
Exercise and staying active helps battle insomnia and regularize sleep patterns. This could be because exercise elevates our body temperature for some time and then it drops down which can promote better sleep. It also tires out the body which in turn primes the body for rest and helps let us sleep better. And doesn’t the upcoming day look better if we have slept better?
5. Improves Immune System
Exercise increases the number of antibodies in our body. With the heart pumping faster during exercise, it facilitates better circulation of antibodies and WBC’s which might help them detect and fight illnesses earlier. Exercise also flushes out bacteria from our lungs so our bodies fight colds better. In the long term, exercise improves our cardiovascular health. However it is important to note that most of these benefits have been observed with moderate aerobic exercise and high intensity training actually reduces immunity briefly.
That a healthier, less stressed body means a more confident, energetic and happier us is a no-brainer. So what are you waiting for? Get going for happiness!