When talking about the benefits of exercising, we generally focus on the bodily rewards such as keeping us fit, our hearts healthy, etc. The fact that it has a positive impact on our mental health isn’t discussed as often.
Anti-depressant Drugs like morphine, heroin or nicotine make us feel good and this why we find so many people who are dependent on drugs to feel great. You can feel good without having resorting to substance abuse by exercising. The good news is, unlike drugs, exercise has no negative effects at all, but on the contrary is very good for our mental health.
Anyone who has spent an hour in the gym or walking in the park will attest to the fact that there is a feel-good factor to exercising. In fact, exercise is often recommended to people fighting ailments like depression. So why does exercise make us feel good? The reasons are very scientific and we will look at them below.
When we start working out, our brain identifies the situation as a stressful moment. Our heart pressure starts going up, our brain is tricked into thinking that there is an enemy around, which either it should fight with or escape from. The brain, to protect us releases a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor). BDNF protects and repairs your memory neurons and resets it. This is reason why we feel much more centred and happy, at the end of each exercise sessions.
Our bodies also release a hormone known as endorphins, which is a chemical that is known to combat the feeling stress. These endorphins work to reduce the discomfort of exercise, keep you from feeling pain and even make you feel joyous.
Did you know that our brains are more active when we are simply sitting down or putting our mental focus at the work at hand?
Exercise, other than releasing useful chemicals in our bodies, also serves as a distraction from our negative thoughts, it doesn’t matter whether you are doing the fun Zumba dance with your cheerful group of friends in the gym, or doing some squatting exercises alone at home.
If you take up exercising in a gym, or join a yoga group, you get the chance to socialize with people. You only feel lightening up as you meet and bond with more people over your workouts.
A person with an unhealthy body can never be truly happy. How fruitless is it to try and feel joyous when we have that splitting headache? Exercise makes our body healthier and keeps many ailments at bay. When your body is pain-free, it is easier for you to push your mind into a state of happiness. A healthy body is after all the abode of a healthy mind.
As we begin to exercise, our body starts to shed the extra fat and gradually we get in shape. Losing weight and getting in shape is one of the biggest confidence boosters in the world. Our skin also starts to glow as result of exercise. We feel better looking, as we can wear the clothes we like and receive admiring glances and compliments from people around. This needless to say, increases our self-worth and makes us feel on top of the world.
When you start to make a schedule of working out, stick to it and even increase the intensity and the durations of your work out, you emerge feeling more accomplished and hence much happier.
Your anxiety levels come down to as a result of exercise. This is because you know you are in charge of your body and doing everything necessary to keep chronic illnesses like diabetes away.
To enjoy the benefits of exercise you don’t have to take up high-intensity workouts. According to the Harvard Medical School, simple exercises, such as walking, doing stretches, breathing exercises, muscle relaxation technique, will go a long way in keeping you stress-free and happy. In fact, to reduce your stress levels, you can practice slow and relaxed breathing, anywhere and anytime.
Meditation is a mental exercise that helps you calm your mind and develop a more positive outlook on life. It even reduces ailments, like high heartbeat and hypertension, which are a result of stress and anxiety.
If you are one who can’t visit the gym for one reason or the other, you can get enough exercise out of your household activities. Chores such as tending to the garden, mopping the floor or dusting the house give a great workout to the body and make you feel better.
There is nothing as holistic as an exercise to make you feel more optimistic about yourself and the world. So next time you feel a little low, go for a swim or take a walk even take a membership in your nearest gym.
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