We’ve all heard how exercising does not only help improve your physique and health, it also is valuable when it comes to securing your mental health by improving your mood. But how? When you exercise, your body secretes chemicals that are able to make you feel good and represses hormones that lead to stress and anxiety. Naturally, physical activity is an effectual method to fight depression due to its mood-boosting effects. This is just one of the multitudes of reasons why we need to take our exercise habits more seriously.
Here are the ways exercise can help improve your mood.
Basically, the body generates endorphins. These are chemicals that decrease the perception of pain, boost immunity and help you feel soothed. Endorphins are naturally effective mood enhancers that heighten your sensations of positivity and contentment. Physical activity promotes the production and release of these feel-good chemicals as it simultaneously lessens the activity of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol since they promote sensations of anxiety and stress. By working out on a regular basis, you’re able to achieve a state of happiness, which drastically improves your well-being and overall quality of life.
Pressures brought by a variety of issues in one’s life trigger a nasty cycle of negative thoughts and endless worrying, which can bring out physical manifestations such as muscular soreness, digestion problems and pains. Exercise serves as a distraction from these anxieties, regardless if you do it at home alone or at the gym with friends. When you do exercise at the gym, it also gives you the opportunity to meet people and socialize.
Expanding your social circle and meeting people ultimately creates bonds that contribute to feeling happy. Hence, you’ll not be fitter and healthier, you’ll also be happier. With this, you can significantly decrease the likelihood that you’ll encounter chronic diseases, which can be a great boost for your physical and mental health. Exercising and seeing results will also give you the feeling of success.
You don’t have to undergo intense and vigorous exercises just to obtain the mental benefits associated with physical activity. According to Harvard Medical School, exercises as simple and basic as walking and stretching are helpful enough. Mental exercises, including breathing strategies and muscle soothing approaches, can all be effectual in fighting stress. To lessen stress, perform slow, relaxed breathing. You can do it anywhere and anytime, depending on when you need it. Controlled muscle relaxation is another efficient tool for fighting against tension and anxiety. Moreover, medication is a fulfilling practice that soothes your mind, improves your optimism, and decreases physical indications of stress like a raised heartbeat or hypertension. Even as simple as doing household chores can provide the mental respite you need, such as cleaning the house of taking care of the garden.
Antidepressants versus Exercises
Physical activity such as exercising can be a helpful alternative to antidepressants. This is according to a study conducted back in 1999. In this study, men and women who exercised to fight depression experienced similar success rates as those who used antidepressant drugs or a combination of drugs and exercise.
Six months later, nearly all subjects put in for a follow-up research. It was then determined that the participants who committed to a consistent exercise routine had a lower possibility of depression relapse. The Association for Applied Sport Psychology also reported that long-term workout plans that happen for 10 weeks or longer provide the greatest resistance against depressive signs.
Exercising is just one of the natural solutions we can incorporate into our everyday lifestyle for better physical and mental wellness. Fighting depression and reducing or even eliminating feelings of negativity is possible as long as our lifestyle choices are aligned with what is right health-wise. While drugs can improve the condition, how we live is still crucial to achieving a more long-term solution to mental health issues. Eating well and exercising on a regular basis are substantial contributors to improving one’s quality of life and overall well-being.