Physical Health & Mental Health are fundamentally linked in several ways. Studies have shown that physical health directly impacts your mental health and well-being, and what’s better than a healthy body, inside and out?
We all know the benefits of a healthy body - increased longevity, improved heart health, better sex life, just to name a few - but what impact does a healthy body have on your mental health?
It turns out, a healthy body impacts mental health in A TON of ways. Exercise changes your hormones and shifts your mind towards a healthy distraction, rather than allowing it to get bogged down by the stresses of our everyday lives.
So let's dive into some of the top ways exercise betters our mental health and helps us to become all-around healthy, happy humans!
How Exercise Impacts Our Mental Health
Tough day at the office? Take it to the gym and pound it out. Exercise increases your body’s concentrations of norepinephrine - a chemical that’s affectionately referred to as the stress hormone because it helps to moderate your brain’s response to stress.
Beyond the chemical factor, exercise is also building your body's ability to respond to stress. This means that you're better able to cope with constant stress coming at you, whether it's from having to lift something heavy, or from having to take the kids to 10 different little league basketball games in one day. Either way, your system is ready to recoup and be back on the road in no time at all.
Not feelin’ yourself lately? Get moving! Regular exercise has been shown to effectively improve positive self-image and self-confidence. You’ll be surprised by what your body is capable of when pushed, and knowing that you can knock out a tough workout will make you feel like a million bucks - inside and out. Plus, taking risks and challenging yourself shows that you can tackle the unknown. Feeling capable and strong will help you to keep breaking down walls and pushing boundaries in every area of your life for years to come.
While it won’t permanently cure anxiety, exercise has been shown to help alleviate low-grade anxiety symptoms by releasing endorphins - your brain’s natural painkiller. Scientifically, endorphins are actually limiting your sense of pain, as in you feel less pain inside and out when your level of endorphins are high.
It takes as little as FIVE MINUTES of aerobic activity to start stimulating anti-anxiety effects! So just imagine what happens when you continue a healthy, ongoing workout regimen. Maintaining a healthy, high level of endorphins will help you to battle negative feeling on an everyday basis!
Writer’s block? Take a step back and shake your booty! Sweating it out and elevating your heart rate has been shown to boost your creativity for up to TWO HOURS after your sweat sesh. Exercising gives both your mind and body a chance to reset so you get back at it with a refreshed state of mind.
If you're willing to push yourself a little further, a recent study found that working out at least 3-4 times per week greatly improves convergent thinking, which is your ability to come up with solutions to a problem. So, whenever issues arise, you're the one who can think through a fresh, new solution in a creative and meaningful way.
Forgetting even the most basic things? Grab those gym shoes and hit the pavement! Strenuous activity helps to increase the production of the cells in the hippocampus that are responsible for learning and memory. Not only do those cells have an immediate effect, they also help preserve your cognitive function as you age - so bring on those birthdays!
Additionally, your brain requires a lot of energy to run, which also means a lot of oxygen. When you work out, especially with aerobic activity, you're pumping more oxygen into your brain. This is helping your brain to be strong, healthy, and growing over time.
So, if a strong brain, mental fortitude, and a self confident lifestyle are your goals, then hit the gym. You'll see and experience the benefits almost immediate, and we're happy to work with you to customize a fitness plan that fits your needs with everything from modifications for pregnancy, to different exercises to fit your skill level. We hope to see you all soon!
This post was brought to you by Denver's Best gym - The REBEL Workout