The Mind-Body Connection: Sweat Your Way to Happiness
Obviously, exercise is one of the primary ways to boost your physical health, along with proper diet and maintaining great sleep habits. But as you may have heard, the amount of physical activity you engage in over the course of your life also has a direct effect on your mental well-being. Exercise and mental health are intrinsically connected, but don't take our word for it: A quick Google Scholar search returns hundreds of recent studies that delve into the effects of exercise on your mental health. We researched the best to deliver our key findings — and some important disclaimers — below.
How Does Regular Exercise Help Your Mental Health?
Hitting the gym or going for a brisk run in the morning can do wonders for your mental health. According to this study exercise can alleviate the physical symptoms of anxiety and depression. The primary reason why exercise can impact your brain is complicated; Researchers believe that the increased blood circulation in the brain has a positive effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, combatting and lessening the physiological reactions to stressors. In layman's terms, the blood flow from exercise keeps your hormones balanced to reduce anxiety and stress. Over-exercising can be a stressor itself — if you are not accustomed to exercise, start off slow but stay committed to a schedule. Exercising for an hour or even thirty minutes a day can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as decrease neurotic behavior.
How Does Physical Activity Help You Emotionally?
Physical activity is also a certified mood booster and can improve your confidence. Exercise is invigorating; a study released in 2004 found that consistent exercise notably improved patients' sense of self-esteem and improved their cognitive abilities. Another study found that engaging in exercise can help combat your inclinations for social withdrawal. Exercise also develops your emotional resilience. When confronted with a challenge or setback, exercise provides a healthy outlet to channel your energy or frustration into something positive. One dominant symptom of emotional disorders is constant fatigue, and exercise combats this by energizing your body and making you feel more alert. Another huge incentive of working up a sweat? Regular exercise can significantly boost your overall sleep quality. Hit the gym and then hit the sheets to experience a more restorative, deeper sleep. Sweat (and sleep) your way to happiness with a fitness plan and SHEEX® Performance Bedding.