We all know that staying in shape is a key part of looking after our health. However, your physical fitness is just one part of having a healthy lifestyle. There are amazing mental health benefits of exercise that are sometimes overlooked.
With the current stress of the presidential election, not to mention the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important that we take action to look after our minds in these times. In this article, we have six of the key benefits of exercise on mental health, to help you make it through these tough times.
Exercise releases endorphins
Exercise has a great effect on mental health, and the chemistry’s got the evidence to prove it. Working out releases endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, which are brain chemicals responsible for happiness and euphoria. It also helps to regulate your levels of adrenaline, which is sometimes responsible for stress. Getting a nice boost of energy and happiness from working out a few times a week is a great way to lift your overall mood.
Improves self confidence
As your body changes over time, your self confidence is likely to start elevating. Many people feel unsure that they’ll have the motivation to keep eating right and working out. But, as you see yourself transforming, meeting your goals and getting into shape, you’ll start feeling proud of what you’ve achieved. Plus, as you edge towards your goal body or weight, you’ll feel more comfortable and happy in your own skin. Your body image will likely get a big (welcome) jump!
Exercise helps you sleep
If you’re like one of the 30% of Americans who suffers from sleep disruption, this might be one of the best mental health benefits of exercise for you! Studies have shown that, even for people with insomnia, working out five or six hours before bed can have a similar effect to taking a sleeping pill. This works because it raises the body’s core temperature. As you cool down, it signals to the brain that it’s time to relax now.
Heightens brain function
Various studies on both mice and people indicate that cardio can trigger neurogenesis. This is the process of creating new brain cells. These increased cells can improve memory, learning, and speed of thought. An intense workout also boosts levels of a brain-derived protein called BDNF. This protein helps cognitive function and complex thinking, such as decision making.
One of the best impacts of our improved brain function from exercise is on creativity. Studies have shown that people who work out four times a week are able to think faster and more creatively in tests than those who don’t work out. This is because exercise is linked to convergent and divergent thinking. This means kind of thinking involves coming up with multiple solutions to a problem, rather than just one.
Exercise provides a sense of community
This isn’t true of all workouts, but when it comes to CrossFit it’s certainly a fact. Working out in a group setting, with others on a similar fitness journey, is great for your mental health. Having a sense of belonging and community support is a great way to stay motivated, positive, and feel like part of a tribe.
There are so many excellent mental health benefits of exercise
Many people struggle to manage their stress, sleep issues, and weight. If you’re looking to boost your mental health in a natural, sustainable and healthy way, CrossFit could be the way to go. Contact Buffalo Nickel CrossFit today to have a chat about joining our amazing local CrossFit community.