Psychological Benefits of Exercise

Psychological Benefits of Exercise

Sometimes you just need to get moving! Stress takes a massive toll on our bodies but exercise is a great way to decrease stress levels! Exercise pump ups your endorphins and it is essential to overall physical, mental and emotional health. Do not think of exercise as a punishment. Think of exercising as an extra-boost of therapy and medication. It is a celebration of what your body can do! Regardless of your fitness level, daily exercise of just 30 minutes can make a noticeable change in your wellness. Remember, exercise is for EVERY BODY!  

 

5 Ways Exercise Significantly Helps Your Brain and Thinking

Decreases Stress and Anxiety

Exercise is vital for physical fitness, but did you know it is great for mental fitness? Staying active is especially helpful when you have had a long or stressful day. Better yet, if you expect to have a long stressful day, you may want to kick off your day by breaking a sweat. Studies show that staying active is efficient for reducing fatigue, increasing alertness, and heightening concentration. An early work-out will help you show up to work extra alert and focused, which is yet another reason to get up and get moving.

Exercising produces endorphins which act as natural painkillers. Endorphins also improve your ability to fall and stay asleep, all together this is a great aid to reduce stress. If the weather is cooperating, take your workout outside for some fresh air and sunshine! Studies suggest that vitamin D (which we get from the sun) can help mental and physical wellness – including depression, anxiety, heart attack, or stroke.  

Improves Memory & Focus

Exercise helps us improve our memory by improving our sleeping patterns, mood, reducing stress and anxiety. Stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep are all culprits of poor memory—think of it as a snowball effect. Mental fitness is as important as physical strength because when you nourish the body, you nourish the mind.

Boosts Confidence

Although not everyone jumps into fitness to get an ego boost; many start primarily because they want to look and feel good. Although looking and feeling good are both fine goals, keep in mind that focusing on your health is a better approach. This approach will be a greater motivation to keep you consistent as you will measure progress based on how you feel rather than what the scale is telling you. Once you achieve a happy and healthy relationship with an exercise routine, you will acknowledge all the benefits you can reap from it. Exercise can be the key to leading an empowered and confident lifestyle.

Promotes Healthier Sleep Routine

What does a healthy sleep routine mean? Our bodies follow a circadian rhythm which helps us maintain a balance between our 24- day and night cycle. When your circadian rhythm is offbeat your sleeping pattern will be off, your sleep quality won’t be great, and you will probably start feeling the aftereffects next morning once you feel sluggish. It might not be the easiest task to always go to bed by the same time but if you can keep it within the same two-hour range every night your body will thank you! If you know your body is out of whack and has bad sleeping patterns, then a great way to reboot your circadian rhythm is by going to sleep and waking up at the same time. If you are someone who engages in outdoor exercises, then your workout is also promoting a healthier sleep. Outdoor exercise reinforces circadian rhythms while you are being exposed to natural light. This approach is especially helpful for older adults as their circadian rhythm begins to fade with age.

Prevention of Neurological Conditions

As I previously stated, many struggles with stressful lives, and some even suffer from anxiety due to their overly hectic lives. However, anxiety is known to be harmful to the brain when not treated. Evidence shows that people who suffer from anxiety are 48% more likely to develop dementia due to cortisol (the stress hormone). Exercise naturally reduces cortisol levels, and for someone who might suffer from anxiety (cortisol levels on the rise) exercise is a great natural method to lower these levels. You are not just getting your body in shape; your mind is also getting in shape. Exercise requires mental strength, dexterity, focus, and determination. You are pushing your body out of its comfort zone, allowing your mind to be in alert mode in a constant state.

 

Getting Help

Exercising is a great method to decrease stress levels and boost endorphins. This is especially helpful when you are battling psychiatric disorders. But sometimes, a workout routine isn’t enough. A better approach would be combining exercise with some form of therapy. If you believe you or your loved one is suffering from depression or anxiety, we can help!

Here at Dr. Messina and Associates, our compassionate team of professionals are qualified to help you at our Flower Mound, Texas, and Southlake, Texas, offices. Our Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Counselors specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychological testing, and medication management for a variety of emotional and behavioral health needs. All services are available in-person and online (telehealth). If you or a loved one are seeking help with mental health, we are here to help.

 

Author
Dr. Michael Messina

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