5 Ways Exercise Is Great for Your Mental Health

Published on: 28 Jan 2016
exercise brain lifting weights

Taking care of our mental health requires a 360-degree approach to our overall wellness. It’s important to look at everything you can do to feel well and healthy.

“Food is the most widely abused anti-anxiety drug in America, and exercise is the most potent yet underutilized antidepressant” – Bill Phillips, Author and Entrepreneur

Here are the top five benefits of exercise that will have you lacing up your sneakers before you read the final sentence.

Reduces Stress and Alleviates Anxiety

Exercise can help manage physical and mental stress.

Working out increases levels of norepinephrine, the chemical in your brain that moderates the brain’s response to stress. So in addition to helping you burn through the feelings of being stressed out, exercise helps you manage your response to stressful situations.

Brain chemicals, including norepinephrine and endorphins, that are released during and after exercise can have a calming effect for people who experience anxiety.

Boosts Happy Chemicals

Endorphins, the powerful chemicals in your brain that are released during exercise, boost your spirits and create feelings of happiness and levity.

Boosts Brainpower, Sharpens Memory and Prevents Cognitive Decline

Exercise can help protect the brain against cognitive decline as we age. Working out boosts the chemicals in the brain that support and prevent degeneration of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning.

Research shows cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells and improve overall brain performance. And the same brain chemicals that boost your mood can also help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp.

Improves Sleep

Sometimes lingering stress and anxiety interferes with our ability to sleep. Regular exercise, even short bursts of movement in the day, can help you relax into a more easygoing sleep pattern.

Fuels Energy, Improves Focus and Drives Productivity

People who take time for some kind of physical activity on a regular basis have more energy and are more productive than those people who are more sedentary.

Make a plan to exercise this week. Your body, mind and mood will thank you!

– Visit Fuel Builders to learn more about Julie and her work

Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors; they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts (therapists and psychiatrists of various specialties) to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.

Our goal at Talkspace is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.

Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to in the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.

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