Regular exercising helps us to stay fit physically. But it also helps us mentally. It helps us cope with stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses.
We should not forget about the psychological aspects of fitness.
Today’s psychiatrists are increasingly prescribing exercise as an essential part of their treatment for psychological disorders such as stress and anxiety.
We’ll look at why exercising is good for our brains and how it improves our general mental well-being.
What Is the Connection Between Exercising and the Brain?
Physical exercise has been shown to improve overall wellbeing and cognitive performance, including memory and attention. Here are some specific ways in which exercising impacts the mind.
Improvement of cognitive functions
Numerous studies have shown that physical activity can improve both short-term and long-term memory, and increase cognitive flexibility. Exercise also increases the speed of information processes.
Those children who are physically active or who play regularly tend to have sharper minds than those who are less active.
Oxygenation of the brain
During exercise, the heart pumps more oxygenated and nutrient-rich red-colored (oxygen rich) and white-colored (nutrient rich) arterial (arteries) and venous (veins) fluid into the body’s tissues.
Oxygen and nutrition delivered by these fluids helps keep our brains healthy.
Exercise is capable of feeding neurons by releasing proteins into the blood stream.
It’ s important to eat foods rich in these nutrients for optimal cognitive function.
Regulation of chemicals and hormones
We release happy hormone when we exercise, which makes us feel good.
Exercise helps us regulate our moods and leads to a happy lifestyle.
It can also help control stress by regulating certain hormone levels in the body. When the heartbeat rises for at least half an hours each daily, it helps in controlling any hormone levels that aren’t working properly or optimally in the human body.
Studies have shown how hormonal imbalances and hormone deficiency can affect one’s mental health.
Therefore, the restoration of hormonal balance through physical activity has a direct relationship with one’s mental well-being.
How Does Working Out Impact Our Mental Health?
Physical activity has an effect on our overall well-being. It boosts our levels of happiness and reduces stress. It also prevents mental illnesses by helping us cope better with stressful situations.
Exercise not only helps people lose extra pounds but also makes them feel better about themselves.
Exercise classes and gyms help us become more socially active and confident, which helps us feel better overall.
Different types of exercise
One can choose from various types of exercises depending on their preferences. For example, some people prefer walking, others lift weights, and so on.
We’ve listed some primary exercises here.
At first, intense exercise increases the body’s cortisol and adrenaline levels, causing a sudden spike in the body’s level of “fight or flight” hormones.
Over time, though, the body learns to deal with these hormones and become resilient, helping us manage our everyday stresses.
According to one research, high-intense exercises can help keep people from becoming depressed. A second research indicates that high-intense workouts boost a protein known as brain-derivative neurotrophic factor or BDNF that helps regulate memory, cognition, and mood.
Low levels of BDNFT are associated with bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses.
Aerobic exercises (running, cycling, swimming)
Aerobic exercises such walking, jogging, and swimming are extremely common forms of exercise and can improve one’s overall well-being. A single short or long walk or jog, or even just five to ten minute of cardio can help boost one’s spirits and lower stress levels.
However, if you run for at least 10–15 weeks, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy lifestyle, then you’ll see significant improvements in your mental state.
It’s well known that practicing some form of exercise, including both physical activity and stretching, helps relieve tension and improve mental wellbeing.
Normally, these exercises involve different types of movement and breathing techniques.
Doing yoga exercises regularly improves the health of the body and the brain. It also releases happy chemicals called “hormone” into the body.
According to a 2018 survey, yoga reduces both high and low levels of cortisol (the hormone associated with stress), and increases feelings of calmness and relaxation.
A short guide on how to get started with a workout routine
When starting out with an entirely new workout routine, knowing which type of activity you prefer is helpful. It helps to figure out if you want to start by jogging in the morning, working out at the gym, or practicing yoga.
You should pick an exercise program that you enjoy and that suits your personality.
If you want to start exercising regularly, here are some tips to get started.
- Do not overwork yourself. You should start off slowly and build your endurance. Once you get used to exercising regularly, you will find that you enjoy it. Start small and work your way up to longer workouts.
- Setting small, achievable short term milestones is important for staying motivated.
- Consistently doing something for a period of time is usually better than sporadically doing something for a short period of time. If you want to achieve something consistently, then commit yourself to a long-term strategy.
- Experiment: When an person begins a new fitness program, it is common to lose motivation at various stages of the plan. At times, one may get tired and feel lazy. To overcome these situations, people experiment with different exercises.
For instance, if someone feels lethargic during workout, then he/she might try running instead of doing stationary cycling. Similarly, if someone feels exhausted after exercising, then he/she could choose to jog instead of walking.
Exercise isn’t just good for us; it’s also enjoyable. But don’t force yourself into doing things if they’re not fun.
It’s important to seek feedback from yourself if you aren’t motivated. If you find it difficult to exercise at first, for instance, you could start exercising later in the day when you’re less tired.
You should continue to explore and experiment with your workout routine so that it becomes fun.
Because exercising helps both the body and the mind, it is an excellent way to boost your mental health and well-being. It is also a great way to relieve stress and reduce feelings of depression and loneliness.