The Emotional Benefits of Exercise

Exercise is a very powerful tool in boosting emotional health and well-being.  Aside from the physical benefits that frequent exercise provides, there are numerous emotional benefits that result from exercise.
 

  • Exercise and Depression
    Depression affects more than 16 million American adults each year.  Serving as a natural, powerful, and proven effective way to combat depression; exercise provides time to think with greater clarity and encourages you to take a mental break from negative thoughts. Scientifically, exercise promotes healthy changes in the brain, such as: neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns.  Additionally, endorphins are produced during and after exercise which are powerful neurotransmitters that pick up your spirit.
     
  • Exercise and Anxiety
    Exercise also serves as a powerful natural remedy to alleviate anxiety. All forms of exercise help lessen the severity of anxiety, however, the more thought you put into your feet on the floor, the wind on your face, and other mindfulness techniques while you work out provide greater relief.  Physical activity relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances well-being because of the endorphins that are released.
     
  • Exercise and Stress
    Endorphins released during exercise also help to alleviate stress.  Physical activity also helps relieve sore, tense, and tight muscles. There is a large connection between body and mind, therefore, when your body feels better so will your mind.
     
  • Exercise and Sleep
    Difficulty falling asleep, feeling overly tired throughout the day, and sleeping poorly are common problems— affecting up to about 35 to 40 percent of the US population.  Research shows that those who exercise moderately 150 minutes a week fall asleep faster, sleep more soundly, and feel less sleepy during the day.  Better sleep results in better productivity throughout the day.  The increasing amount of scientific evidence supporting the positive benefits that exercise has on sleep makes physical activity an alternative to common pharmaceuticals often prescribed for sleep.


Besides help with specific issues, exercise provides great emotional benefits to all who engage in physical activity. Sharper memory and thinking, higher self-esteem, more energy, and stronger resilience all result from physical activity.

If you do not currently have an exercise routine, there is no better time to start than today!  Even a small amount of exercise can give you positive results.  If you need to, start with just 5-10 minutes a day and gradually work your way to a more moderate level of activity.  Your physical and mental health will certainly thank you.


Sources

The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
Mental Health by The Numbers
Physical Activity Impacts Overall Quality of Sleep