When I think of exercise I usually think of the physical benefits first. What about the mental benefits?
We’ve all seen the the popular RUNNING IS CHEAPER THAN THERAPY, right. It’s true and the same can be said for fitness in general.
I’ve often mentioned my dream job of combining my career with my passion for health and fitness. This is why:
7 Mental Benefits of Fitness
- You feel better. Exercise releases endorphins giving you a positive attitude and a general feeling of happiness.
- Builds your confidence. After a run or workout you can’t help but feel proud of your accomplishment. Imagine experiencing that feeling many times over the course of a week of workouts.
- You have more brain power. Thinking about things like coordination while exercising challenges your brain which helps make new brain cells and establishes new connections.
- Builds self discipline. It takes discipline to exercise regularly and that skill carries over into many areas of life.
- Reduces stress levels. Exercise increases levels of soothing brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.
- You sleep better. A good night’s sleep and being well rested makes everything easier. Your mind is more alert and difficult or stressful situations have less of a negative affect.
- Improves memory and thinking skills. Researched by Harvard Medical School, aerobic exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills.
The benefits are supported by research and personal experience. The American Psychological Association refers to it as the exercise effect.
I am by no means dismissing traditional treatments of mental health and you should always consult with your health care provider, but doesn’t it make sense that a combination of treatment approaches including exercise would be most beneficial?
Have you experienced any or all of the benefits? What specific exercise gives you the most mental benefit?
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