Top five mental benefits of exercising

Suad Mohamed, In-Depth Editor

It’s no doubt that people focus more on the physical aspect of exercise. It basic common sense since exercise is a physical activity.

But that does not mean that the mental aspect of exercise should be ignored.

People who go to the gym daily and play sports do it for one main reason – it makes them feel and think better. Research has shown that exercising daily has multiple positive effects.

1 Depression
Studies have shown that exercising can treat mild to moderate depression to the same extent as medicine.

The good part? It does not have any of the negative side effects that come along with taking medicine.

It also has been shown to reduce the possibility of worsening depression. When exercising, the brain changes in many ways.

It begins to release endorphins, which are chemicals that make people feel better and promote feelings of calmness and joy.

Exercise also serves as a daily distraction for the awful feelings that a depressed person may go through

2 Anxiety
Another issue that exercising can help with is anxiety. Daily physical activity can relieve tension and stress.

The release of endorphins that helps alleviate symptoms of depression can also aid with symptoms of anxiety.

Also, having control over every step of your exercise routine, such as technique, reps, and location, can make people with anxiety feel like they have more control over other parts of their lives.

3 Stress
Having a lot of stress can lead to both physical and mental issues. Thankfully, exercising helps with both.

Stress can lead to physical symptoms such as tightened muscles. Moving your body helps solve these issues, and as the body starts to feel better, the mind does to.

It also serves as a distraction from the stressors in one’s daily life. Exercising can also help with other issues that stem from stress, such as headaches and insomnia, which only stand to worsen one’s stress, and thus their mental health.

People with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) have trouble with concentration and focus.

Putting a lot of time and effort into one activity, such as exercising, can help the mind learn to focus and help with the symptoms of ADHD.

In fact, many doctors tell patients with ADHD to exercise, along with taking medication.

Exercising also makes the brain release chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, which help improve a person’s attention span, working practically the same as medicines such as Ritalin, which help with ADHD symptoms.

5 PTSD and Trauma
Many doctors have also considered exercise to be a good strategy to help with the symptoms related to suffering a trauma.

By focusing one’s energy and mind onto exercise, a traumatized person can become “unstuck” from the state of mind that their trauma put them in. Doctors say that this is key to moving on and healing.

6 Self-esteem
Everybody knows that exercising is great for confidence, but they do not know all the reasons.

Of course having a fitter body will make someone feel good about themselves.

However, the chemicals that the brain releases also have a hand in the self-confidence boost that comes with physical activity.