Fitness and Mental Health
May 7, 2023
Andrew Parker

Training is not just about aerobic capacity and muscle size. Indeed, exercise can shape your waistline, improve your physical health, and even extend your lifespan. But most people don’t stay active because of that. Because they feel very at ease, regular exercisers are more likely to exercise. They are less stressed and more optimistic about themselves and their lives, have more vivid memories, feel more motivated throughout the day, and sleep better at night. It is also an effective medicine for many common mental health problems.

Regular exercise can have a very positive effect on depression, anxiety, and ADHD. It also improves mood, memory, sleep, and stress levels, and you don’t have to be a fitness junkie to enjoy the benefits. Research demonstrates that moderate exercise can have a significant impact. Regardless of your age or fitness level, you can learn how to use the workout as a powerful tool to manage mental health issues, improve your energy and attitude, and make your life more fulfilling.

Exercise is a powerful fight against depression and other mental ailments for several reasons. Most importantly, it promotes new neural connections in the brain, including nerve growth, reduced inflammation, and new patterns of activity that foster a sense of calmness and well-being. It is also a potent chemical in the brain. Endorphins are released, stimulating the mind and making you feel good.

Finally, exercise can also be a distraction, allowing you to find quiet time to break out of the negative thought cycles that fuel depression and anxiety. By truly focusing on your body and how it feels during exercise, you actually “unlock” your nervous system and help you break free of the immobilized stress response that characterizes PTSD and trauma. Observe the physical sensations in your joints and muscles as your body moves rather than letting your mind wander. Exercises that involve crossing movements using both arms and legs, such as walking (especially in the sand), running, swimming, weight training, and dancing, are among the best options.

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