Exercise is essential for a healthy body; this simple fact is one of the certain truths in the medical world today (though many of us wish there was an easier alternative). And though many who begin exercising regularly do so to keep their body healthy and in shape, most don’t stop to realize the astounding effects that daily exercise is beginning to have on their mental health too. What astounding effects am I talking about? Read on.
1 – Boost in brain activity
Ever felt stuck on an assignment or math problem that you couldn’t wrap your head around? Maybe you got up to take a short walk around your room to think. And lo and behold, a brainwave strikes, and you’re able to move past your problem!
Exercise is great for boosting mental focus, memory retention and overall brain performance, thanks to a process called neurogenesis (the production of new brain cells; more brain cells, more brainpower), while also reducing the effects of age on the brain. It would seem nerds can’t survive on just books after all.
2 – Help you deal with depression and anxiety
Ever heard of Endorphins? They’re the “feel good” chemicals produced in your brain and spinal cord, and are largely responsible for any constant euphoric feeling you’ve ever had. In short, Endorphins released by your nervous system make you, well, less nervous. And during exercise your system is flooded with these chemicals, meaning you won’t be able to help but smile after a good seat at the gym, or a game at a basketball court.
3 – Decreased stress
On the one hand, it helps you meet deadlines and keep up with your workload. However, if it’s prolonged, it’s very likely to kill you. But if you exercise regularly, you can effectively lower the amount of stress your body endures on a daily basis. Chalk it up to the improved blood supply to the brain and better communication between your central and sympathetic nervous system, but exercise will help you deal with stress.
4 – Sleep like a baby
Suffering from sleep disorders on a regular basis? Well, studies have conclusively shown exercise can (and will) help you sleep better. Though don’t go for a jog right before going to bed. Don’t want the adrenaline to keep you up all night now do you? Instead, make it a habit to exercise once a day at any time of the day (barring nighttime of course). That’ll work out better in the long run.
5 – Higher self-confidence and self-esteem
Though it’s more of a side-effect of exercising, regularly exercising does leave you with a higher feeling of self-esteem than when you probably started. After all, who wouldn’t be proud of themselves for losing weight and even gaining a decent amount of muscle? Not to mention the compliments you’d get each day from people around you about your improved physique. So, if you’re looking to feel better about yourself, exercise might be the answer you’re looking for.