Exercise for your mental health

Who hasn’t heard that exercise is good for you. Physicians and fitness experts have been telling us for years that a good aerobic exercise program is one of the best things that you can do for your physical health. A good aerobic exercise program can provide physical benefits such as:

 

Increase cardiovascular/respiratory functioning

Increase oxygenation of the blood

Increase HDL Level (Good Cholesterol)

Increase longevity

Increase immune system response

Decrease triglycerides

Decrease body fat

 

 

The amount of empirical data that supports these statements is overwhelming. There is no doubt that exercise will boost your physical state. But, did you know that exercise could also boost your mental state as well? Preliminary research suggests a correlation between aerobic exercise and its positive effects on mental health. Research suggests that aerobic exercise helps elevate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and reduce overall level of stress. It is believed that exercise increases the level of neuo-chemicals in the brain such as serotonin (responsible for regulating body temperature, sleep, mood, appetite, and pain) and norepinephrine (responsible for attentiveness, emotions, sleeping, dreaming, and learning). Serotonin plays a role in depression, suicide, impulsive behavior, and aggressiveness. Norepinephrine plays a role in mood disorders such as Bipolar disorder. Exercise can assist with diffusing anger. Even a short, brisk walk can make a difference in relaxing an individual and calm a person’s mood.

 

It is important to keep in mind that exercise is not a cure for emotional distress. However, it can help reduce the severity. Exercise combined with proper nutrition, cognitive behavior therapy, and, if needed, medication can help you enhance your mental health and empower yourself to achieve your maximum potential in life. So, if you are looking to improve your life, find an aerobic activity that you enjoy and start exercising today!