Exercise has long been known to have physical health benefits, but research has also shown that it can positively impact mental health.
The connection between exercise and mental health is so strong that exercise is often recommended to improve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
Improving Mental Wellbeing Through Exercise
There are several ways that exercise can improve mental health. Exercise can help to reduce stress and improve mood by releasing endorphins – chemicals in the brain that can act as natural painkillers and even mood elevators.
Even simple exercises, like stretching or Method Putkisto, can have a significant impact on the mind and the body by alleviating the symptoms of depression and anxiety, improving brain function, and increasing the production of neurotransmitters that are responsible for regulating mood.
Exercise and the Brain Health Connection
In addition to the physical benefits of exercise, engaging in physical activity can also have social and psychological benefits. For example, exercise can be a great motivator and boost self-esteem. It can also provide an opportunity to connect with others through activities like team sports or group fitness classes.
When you engage in good physical activity, your body releases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports the growth and development of brain cells. BDNF has been shown to have some beneficial effects on the brain, including improving memory and learning, reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and protecting against the damaging effects of stress.
In addition to increasing BDNF, exercise can also boost the functioning of the hippocampus, a brain region involved in memory and learning new things.
The hippocampus is often smaller in people with depression. Physical activity can increase the size of the hippocampus, which may help to improve memory and cognitive function.
Exercise can also improve brain function in other ways. For example, it has been shown to increase the production of neurotransmitters, like serotonin and dopamine, which regulate mood and can help improve feelings of happiness and well-being.
Physical activity can also stimulate the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, improving blood flow and oxygenation to brain cells.
Seeking Help Where Required
It’s important to note that, while exercise can be an excellent way to improve your mental health, it is not a substitute for professional treatment. If you are experiencing severe depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions, you must speak with a mental health professional for appropriate treatment and support.
Modern research and scientific evidence suggest that participating in regular exercise – be it classes or moving more – can have several positive effects on brain function, which may help improve mood, reduce the risk of developing mental health conditions, and enhance cognitive function.
The strong connection between exercise and mental health is clear. Regular physical activity can improve mood, reduce stress, and help prevent mental health conditions.
If you want to improve your mental health, consider incorporating exercise into your day and invest in your body. You’ll see its positive impact.