Exercise and your Mental Health
Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week and I’ve been thinking about how important exercise is for our mental wellness. Many of our members talk about how their workouts do as much or more for their mental health as their physical well-being.
It’s amazing to see people’s moods turn around after they finish their workouts. No matter how miserable they might feel during the exercises, there are always smiles when it’s over!
We have people come into the studio with major issues going on in their lives, and taking the time to exercise really does make them feel better. I know my workouts always put me in a better mood. It’s probably a combination of doing something good for my body, being around friends, and the release of happy chemicals in the brain.
There are all kinds of mental health benefits we get from exercise, besides that great mood boost. Here are just a few of them:
· Reduces stress. When life is overwhelming, a good sweaty workout is just what the doctor ordered.
· Helps your memory. Regular exercise can help protect the areas of your brain that are responsible for memory and learning.
· Aids in depression. Studies have shown that aerobic exercise and resistance training help reduce anxiety and symptoms of depression.
In some cases, exercise is as effective in easing depression as medication. Studies have shown that even just 30 minutes of exercise a few times a week can help alleviate symptoms of depression. Exercise certainly isn’t a cure for depression, but it is something that can help provide some relief.