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The Connection Between Exercise and Mental Health: How Working Out Can Lift Your Mood

You already know how important regular exercise is for your physical health. But did you know that it can benefit your mental health too? That’s right! Exercise and mental health are connected. Getting your body moving can have an amazing impact on your overall well-being. The body and mind are undeniably intertwined, so it’s no wonder that our brains feel better once the body does too. So let’s take a closer look at how exercise benefits our mental health, and how to make the most out of that. 

How Does Exercise Affect Our Mental Health?

The first, and most obvious way in which exercise benefits our mental health is by releasing endorphins. Endorphins, also known as “feel-good hormones”, are chemicals that have the reputation of natural antidepressants. They are the ones who give us a sense of euphoria after a good workout, and they are also responsible for reducing pain and boosting pleasure. 

But besides releasing endorphins, exercise can also help us reduce any accumulated stress or anxiety. That’s because regular physical activity helps our bodies regulate its cortisol levels. Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone”, and it is most commonly released during stressful situations. Low-intensity workouts, such as walking, pilates, yoga, or barre are great ways to lower the levels of cortisol in your body.

Last, but certainly not least — exercise can also help you sleep better at night. Most of us already know how important a good night’s sleep is for our mental health. Exercise can help us fall asleep faster and also promote deeper sleep. This will eventually result in better mental clarity and a happier mood.

The Benefits of Regular Exercise

Now that you understand the ways in which exercise affects our mental well-being, let’s take a closer look at how your life could improve once you decide to schedule regular physical activity. Because your mental health depends on much more than just good sleep and brain chemicals. Here are just some of the benefits that you can expect.

Improved Self-Esteem 

It’s no secret that regular exercise makes us feel better about our bodies. And it’s also no secret that this will boost our confidence and self-esteem. Exercise can also make us feel proud and accomplished, which can increase our self-worth and confidence. 

Reduced Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety 

Did you know that exercise has been found in studies to be just as helpful as medicine in the treatment of mild to moderate anxiety and depression symptoms? By producing endorphins and controlling cortisol levels, exercise can help you improve your mental health in a completely natural way.

Better Cognitive Function

Our cognitive functions, such as our memory, concentration, and decision-making powers, all can be strengthened with regular exercise. Because exercise increases blood flow to the brain, it can improve our ability to think clearly and focus. That’s working out in the morning can help you perform better at work.

Better Social Connection 

Whether you sign up for a fitness class or go for a walk with a friend, exercising can be a social activity. Exercise can help you in the development of close bonds with others and also give you a sense of community. As much as some of us want to deny it, these two things that are essential for our mental health and the connection between exercise and mental health.


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