Exercise; it’s not just good for your physical health. Research shows that regular exercise can improve mood, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and boost self-esteem.
One of the most significant mental health benefits of exercise is its ability to improve mood. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins which are chemicals that promote feelings of happiness and pleasure. Endorphins can help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve overall mood. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that just 30 minutes of exercise three times a week could be as effective as medication for treating depression.
In addition to improving mood, exercise can also help to reduce symptoms of anxiety; a common mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Exercise has been shown to reduce the level of the stress hormone cortisol, which is associated with anxiety. A study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that regular exercise could reduce anxiety symptoms by up to 50%.
Fast and Fierce
So, what types of exercise are the most effective for improving mental health? While any form of exercise can be beneficial, some types of exercise may be more effective than others when it comes to improving mental health.
Aerobic exercise, such as using cardiovascular machines, or exercise classes, has been shown to be particularly effective for improving mood and reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is because aerobic exercise causes the brain to release endorphins, which promote feelings of happiness and pleasure.
Strength training with free weights or strength-based classes, can also be effective for improving mental health. Building muscle tone and feeling stronger can help to improve self-esteem and reduce symptoms of anxiety by promoting a sense of control and mastery over your body.
Mind Body Connection
Finally, yoga and other mind-body alignment exercises can be particularly effective for reducing stress and promoting relaxation. These types of exercises incorporate breathing techniques and meditation, which can help to calm the mind and reduce stress.
So, whether you decide to sweat it out, push on through or breathe into it, getting regular physical activity will benefit you; body, mind and soul.