Exercise Boosts Mental Health
There is more to exercise than the “no pain, no gain” mentality. While many Americans associate exercise with grueling physical workouts, more and more research shows exercise boosts mental health as well. As healthcare becomes more holistic, this is a great opportunity to make the most of exercise… for more than sweating.
The mind and body connection is real, and the research that backs up the relationship between exercise and mental health is extensive. A study published in the journal Maturitas found that “exercise improves anxiety, stress, and depression, it improves physiological and immunological functions.” Another study published in the Journal of Health Psychology “shed further light on the importance of remaining physically active in times of stress.” Its findings suggest that stress decreases significantly when we remain physically active. In that same journal, a study presented earlier this year found that mental contrasting can be a big factor to help maintain these efforts to stay physically active.
Staying physically healthy – understanding that there might be certain medical illnesses that can prevent us from fully embracing this – can boost our spirits and our mood. Not only because there’s a sense of accomplishment that invades us when we’ve worked out, but also due to the release of powerful neurochemicals. Endorphins, serotonin, and norepinephrine – all of which help towards boosting a more positive mood (happiness) and reducing anxiety and stress. And now we have a visual way of seeing this effect.
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