Five psychological benefits of being physically active

ZS Archives | Five psychological benefits of being physically active

We are all too familiar with exercise’s physical benefits, such as increased energy, reduced risk of heart diseases, and lowering of blood pressure. But sometimes, we forget that there are copious mental health benefits attached to exercise to keep your state of mind happy and healthy and your memory sharp. Let’s look at the five psychological benefits of being physically active below, and we will briefly discuss each benefit.

1. Anxiety and Depression

When the human body is physically active, the brain releases “feel good” endorphins produced by the brain and spinal cord, leaving you with a sense of euphoria and feelings of happiness. It’s been scientifically proven that exercise is a tried and tested mood booster. It decreases symptoms of depression and anxiety dramatically over some time. Start by following a moderate exercise routine throughout the week and build up from there. After a month of regular exercise, you’ll start noticing the difference, and others will see a difference too.

2. Reduces stress levels

Stress will silently take its toll if nothing is done to reduce stress levels. Something we can all benefit from at this point. Exercising increases your heart rate, minimising stress-induced damage by stimulating and releasing healthy chemicals in the body. The other benefit of exercise is that it forces your central-nervous system to communicate with one another, which ultimately improves your ability to respond to stress.

3. Improved self-confidence

Regular exercise ensures that you get that summer body you’ve always wanted and improves your endurance ability. All of these achievements lead to a boost of self-esteem and the natural confidence that comes with it. Setting personal goals and reaching them improves the body, mind and soul. The way you feel about yourself will have a significant impact on your mental health.

4. Improves sleep cycles

If you are always stressed or anxious, the chances are that you are struggling to fall asleep at night too. Sleeplessness and stress go hand in hand in some cases. Still, by following a well-structured exercise routine, your body develops and regulates your circadian rhythm, which serves as the bodies built-in alarm clock that controls when we feel tired and when we don’t.

5. Improves Brainpower and memory

Research has proven that cardiovascular exercise stimulates and creates new brain cells, which are advantageous in several ways, such as improving memory and intelligence. The process is called neurogenesis which improves overall brain functioning and performance. Studies have proven that physical exercise boosts creativity and mental energy too.

There are plenty of ways of taking care of your mental health. Physical Exercises is not the only option that’s available to you. Sometimes making small and subtle changes to your overall habits and routines can alleviate stress and anxiety symptoms. The old proverb goes, you are what you eat, and the same applies when it comes to mental health. Psychonutrition is a new field of study focused on the effects one’s diet has on one’s mental health and is sometimes called nutritional psychiatry. An article in the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society suggests that people following a western diet are more prone to depression and anxiety than those who consume a Mediterranean diet. This could be attributed to the high number of processed foods and artificial sweeteners that can be found in many westernised diets.

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