6 Surprising Ways Exercise Can Improve Your Mental Health

6 Surprising Ways Exercise Can Improve Your Mental Health
By Jane Sandwood

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you’re depressed? You probably don’t think, “Hey, I should go for a run!” This is especially true if getting motivated to do physical exercise is difficult for you. Yet, this is precisely the habit you need to get into if you want to improve your mental health. Here are six reasons why that is.

Free Your Mind of Negativity

Exercise will take your mind off the nonstop flood of thoughts in your head and get you out of the house. Your thoughts have the potential to turn negative when you have unstructured time. You can redirect your thinking in a more mindful and positive direction by filling your time with physical activity.

Enjoy More Energy

Do you hit that afternoon bump of sluggishness? You can boost your endurance and strengthen your muscles by engaging in regular physical activity. Exercise allows your cardiovascular system to run more efficiently while delivering more nutrients and oxygen to your tissues. During the day, you get more energy when your lungs and heart work better. So, you put more pep in your step when you get your body in motion.

Get a Mood Boost

Drinking a glass of wine is one of the worst ways to relax after a hard day. You can do much more to improve your mood with physical exercise. Plus, you can experience these benefits without intense exercise. Research shows that several chemicals in your brain are stimulated by any physical activity.

Shed Some Pounds

The most well-known benefit of physical activity is that it helps you lose weight. You will naturally feel better when you have a positive body image. You will then be motivated to regularly exercise as you are happy with how you look. This in turn will improve your self-esteem and boost your confidence.

Release Endorphins

Research shows that you can reduce symptoms of depression when you release endorphins through exercise. Immune system chemicals that worsen depression are reduced when endorphins are release. Also, your body temperature increases, which is calming.

Get Better Sleep

If you have a hard time sleeping at night, regular exercise can assist you by deepening your sleep and helping you fall asleep in the first place. In turn, your mood will improve. After all, when we fail to get our eight or so hours of sleep each night, we tend to get cranky!