Here's How Fitness Helps Mental Health
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and just like with physical health, there are things you can do to improve and maintain your mental health.
Fitness is one of those things. Here's how fitness helps mental health:
According to the World Health Organization, mental health is "a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community."
1. Fitness has been shown to improve mental health by reducing stress levels and improving self-esteem
Time has shown (especially over the last couple of years) just how crucial fitness/movement has become to improving our mental health.
It has been shown, time and time again, that physical activity does wonders for an individual's mood; it can reduce stress levels (both high and low), increase self-esteem (a quick look at the booming fitness industry proves that people are more than happy to post pictures of themselves "working out" online), and improve overall mood.
2. Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects
Who doesn't like a good mood boost? Whatever your poison is, we can all agree that there's nothing better than feeling on top of the world and giving life that extra oomph.
This is where the endorphins come into play. Released by your brain during exercise, these feel-good chemicals work to block pain signals and boost moods.
The best part? They're often released during prolonged cardio (like running), so it doesn't even have to be a long jog in order for you to get that happiness injection!
3. Fitness improves your sleep
Getting enough sleep is crucial to mental health, just as it is to physical health.
There are many who suffer from a lack of sleep, and this has been shown to have a negative effect on both mood and mental health.
Luckily, fitness can help here too – regular activity improves the quality of your sleep, which is great news if you're trying to battle insomnia.
4. Regular physical activity also helps protect against depression and anxiety disorders
Exercise gives you a better shot at avoiding mental health problems, especially depression and anxiety disorders.
The more activity you have in your life, the greater chance of receiving those mood boosts that will stave off mental illness.
5. Fitness helps reduce stress levels
Stress comes from all angles – there isn't much we can do to cut ourselves off from it.
We all need a way to deal with stress, and the best solution is exercise – this reduces cortisol levels (the hormone that causes stress), boosts your mood, and increases energy levels.
6. Fitness helps you focus better
Fitness improves mental clarity as well as physical health . When we're fit, our brains work better, and we're able to focus better.
This is great news for students and anyone else who needs to concentrate on a task, but can't find the mental clarity to do so.
7. Being active outdoors in nature has an especially positive impact on mental health
What's even better than exercising indoors? Exercising outdoors – and the great news is that anyone can do this.
This type of exercise takes you out into nature, where there are no distractions from your surroundings, which means it becomes easier for you to switch off from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
8. Fitness also provides a platform for socializing and forming friendships
Fitness is great when it comes to friendship formation. Many people go to the gym with the purpose of making friends, and not just workout buddies or training partners.
This is because fitness provides an opportunity for you to meet new people, who share similar interests as yourself – which means that you're likely to become friends with these people.
9. Participating in team sports can also help boost self-esteem and social connectedness
Team sports are another great way to make friends; but because there's a sense of competition involved, you can also see your self-esteem and social connectedness increase as well.
10. Physical activity is one of the best anti-depressants ever discovered by science
Need we say more..?
11. Exercise can help children with mental disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Exercise provides positive benefits for both children and adults, but it is especially useful for those who struggle to sit still and focus their attention on one thing.
For these people, physical activity is a great way to help them regulate their mood and behaviour – which can be a crucial part of their mental health.
12. Fitness helps you learn important life skills such as goal-setting, discipline, and determination
When we're fit, it gives us more energy – not only do we feel better about ourselves but we feel like we have more time to do the things we enjoy.
This can lead us to start setting goals for ourselves, in order to make the most of our newfound energy and motivation.
13. Regular physical activity can improve your memory
Fitness helps you in all aspects of life – even when it comes to remembering things.
Exercise boosts blood flow throughout the brain, which means you retain more information and recall events without any problems.
14. Fitness also helps your mental health by boosting your self-esteem, mood, and concentration levels
Aerobic exercise increases neurotransmitters in the brain that transmit messages from one nerve to another – this includes serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of happiness and self-esteem.
This exercise also boosts mood.
The benefits of fitness are endless. From improving your memory to boosting your self-esteem, aerobic exercise has a positive impact on all aspects of life – including mental health and cognition.
This doesn’t just mean that you'll be in better shape physically; it also means that you'll feel more fulfilled mentally when working out regularly!
If you're still unsure about how much time or effort the gym takes up, take our word for it: investing twenty minutes each day goes a long way towards living a healthier lifestyle and feeling happier overall.