According to the National Institute of Mental Health approximately 1/4 of American adults have one or more mental health disorders.
Anxiety and depression are the two most widespread and are increasing worldwide.
Science says that exercise may improve mental health in the following ways:
- By enhancing physiological health
Being physically active will benefit overall brain health by reducing the risks factors of poor mental health(inflammation,diabetes,hypertension and cardiovascular disease) and increasing blood flow thus delivery of nutrients and energy.
- By raising tolerance for emotional stress
Exercise is stressful thus increasing regular exercises will increase your resilience towards other forms of physical and emotional stress.
- By increasing familiarity with physical stress
Anxiety sufferers experience symptoms like elevated heart rate, increased sweating and chills. Regular exercise can help control the experience of physiological stress and the symptoms become less frightening.
- By boosting self efficacy
Mastering a new skill will improve self efficacy and therefore improve self esteem and learning how to exercise is the perfect example of a new skill
- By fostering social contact
Social interaction can drastically improve the mood and exercising with friends boosts the mood
- By increasing exposure to the outdoors and sunlight
Engaging in exercise outdoors lift up the spirit and exposure to sunlight raises neurotransmitter levels therefore the mood
- By diverting negative thinking
Depressed or anxious people often get stuck in negative thoughts cycles and regular exercise is a diversion of negative inner thoughts towards thoughts of pleasurable present experiences
- By encouraging engagement instead of avoidance
Focusing on exercise provides value and a structured program will direct the focus on the value of the activity rather than the withdrawal
Exercise yourself to happiness!
Ciao for now