We all know the physical benefits of exercise, but what about the mental benefits? Is there as much benefit to your brain as there are to your muscle? While a lot of the western world are now moving less than ever before, mental health conditions like depression and anxiety have shot right up. Children are prescribed antidepressants, and there appears to be a direct correlation with the lack of exercise and rise in obesity levels. So what can exercising actually do for us?
Stress is a big thing in everyone’s lives now, and exercise is now being touted as a big fighter of stress. This is mainly due to the fact the chemical norepinephrine, which controls the body’s response to stress, is increased when exercise is undertaken. So, the more exercise you do, the more norepinephrine is released. Something that gets your heart racing like uphill cycling or high-intensity interval training are two great options to try here.
An Increase In Focus & Coordination
Even heavy exercise has been shown to boost people’s ability to focus as it has been shown to increase the production of cells in the hippocampus. Even a slow exercise like Tai Chi or yoga works wonders for your ability to focus, as you are slowing everything right down. And doing a specific set of Tai Chi moves combined with a breathing pattern forces you to really pay attention to what you are doing and block out any distractions. There are plenty of learning programs like Tai Chi Productions where you can study the art from home and progress your skills.
It Gets You Outdoors
Running in the sun, or doing yoga on a beach is exposing you to some natural vitamin D, courtesy of our sun. And being outdoors doesn’t just help you with getting more clean air to your lungs and brain, but the amount of vitamin D your body takes in will help to alleviate the symptoms of depression. They don’t call it the sunshine vitamin for nothing!
It Helps You To Sleep
Any amount of exercise has been shown to increase the quality of sleep in people, meaning that we think more clearly and feel rested. Exercise has been shown to be effective in overcoming addictions. For example, alcoholics find it hard to fall asleep without a drink due to their interrupted circadian rhythm. Exercise helps to reset that clock.
It Improves Your Self-Confidence
Building your own self-worth usually comes from the inside out, but when you exercise and see what it is doing to you physically, it is hard to not reap the benefits of feeling like a million bucks. Exercise is shown to increase self-esteem and more importantly, self-worth.
It Makes You More Creative
It’s true; exercise helps you in creative thinking! A session in the gym can boost creative thinking for up to two hours afterwards. If you’re feeling that your brain isn’t working, in whatever way, going for a run or lifting the weights will help get you thinking again!