We all know that it’s important to stay active to maintain our physical health but guess what? Exercising and staying fit is also helping our mental health. Just like our body needs movement and exercise to improve muscle strength and flexibility, our mind needs similar exercise and positive stimulation to help it perform at its best.
Simply moving and exercising for 30 minutes every day for a minimum of 5 days a week is helping our mind more than we realise. In fact, exercising is actually more beneficial in keeping our brain in shape than our body and by engaging in regular exercise we will experience better moods, better attention, better memory and better energy.
Here’s the top three mental health benefits of exercise:
- Exercise sets off those happy hormones: The chemical balance and hormones in our body are part of a pretty complex system which ultimately determines if you are happy or sad. Each time we exercise, our brain is releasing endorphins throughout the body which is the feel-good chemicals we need to get those good vibes coursing through our veins!
- Exercise reduces stress: Exercising increases concentrations of norepinephrine which is a chemical that can moderate how the brain responds to stress. Regular fitness improves the body’s ability to deal with mental strain and helps to retrain our thought patterns to be more resilient (pushing through pain) which in turn improves the way we handle stress overall.
- Exercise is protecting your brain: A healthy and well used brain is more likely to be able to deal with situations on a more practical level and exercise is a great way to keep our brain in shape. There are two specific areas in our brain called the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex which are the area’s most vulnerable to neurodegenerative disease and normal cognitive decline as we get older and coincidentally these are the two areas being used and exercised when we are physically working out! So by exercising we are also helping our future selves through improving our brain's overall health.
So get out there and get active and let your mind feel as fit as your body. #ItAintWeaktoSpeak