Lifestyle Psychology

How Does Exercise Benefit My Mental Health?

we all know that exercise is beneficial, you hear it all the time that you should exercise because it’s good for you, but what does this mean exactly?

what a lot of people might not be aware of, is the effect that exercise can have on a person’s mental health, firstly exercise is proven to greatly reduce day-to-day stress, increase self-reported happiness levels and lower levels of sadness and loneliness both in the short term and long term.

exercise can prevent depression and anxiety disorders and in some cases can even be as effective as psychological and pharmaceutical treatments, a study also found that running for just 15 minutes a day or walking for one hour can reduce the risk of major depression by 26%, so why does exercise have such a positive effect on the body?

Positive Effects Of Exercising

well exercise boosts your body’s production of endorphins which are hormones that help you relax, feel more pleasure, feel less pain and reduce the amount of a stress hormone in your body called cortisol. exercise also helps your brain produce more dopamine and serotonin, which are chemicals responsible for making you feel happy.

also activities like fitness classes and team sports are opportunities for social interaction, which is proven to boost moods and decrease feelings of loneliness. when it becomes a habit, exercise can also improve self-esteem and foster a sense of self-worth. an observational study looking at 1.2 million adults across the u.s. found that on average there is a 43.2% reduction in the number of poor mental health days experienced by those who exercise regularly compared to people who don’t exercise.

exercising for 30 to 60 minutes a day was associated with the biggest reduction in poor mental health days. but exercising for more than three hours a day was associated with worse mental health than not exercising at all. therefore it’s obvious that obsessively exercising is not healthy, it was also found that team sports and aerobics were associated with the biggest reductions in poor mental health days.

What is the Best Exercise for you ?

unfortunately more than a quarter of adults across the world do not get enough exercise, therefore you should identify what exercises you enjoy doing and then set reasonable goals and stick to an exercise routine to see positive results, here are some general suggestions:

individuals in their 20s can commit to a wide variety of exercises but should focus on developing bone mineral density so they should do weight-bearing exercises that promote bone growth, these include exercises such as running dancing or martial arts.

individuals in their 30s and 40s start to lose muscles therefore weight training is especially important during this time, it is also important to do cardiovascular exercises like rowing and swimming.

individuals over 50 should focus on exercises that help with balance, they should consider water aerobics, stretching and performing lightweight activities.

however it’s important to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine to make sure that they’re safe for you.

Overall, it is evident that exercise is beneficial for your mental health So you should remember to get up and stay active, Thanks for reading, stay healthy.

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