In this day and age, people are becoming more and more conscious about their health and body which is a good thing, actually. Social networks and the internet have a great impact with today’s standard of what a perfect body should look like. Celebrities, famous bloggers, and people in the entertainment industry alike have so much influence with today’s teens and even adults.
One of the most common reasons why people nowadays take physical activities seriously is because they are striving to achieve their “perfect body”. Toned arms and legs with rock hard abs are of the many goals of people who are into physical activities.
Well, on the other hand, some people are into physical activities for various health reasons rather. Health does not just involve good body functions but mental health, as well. Holistic well-being involves both the body and the mind to be healthy.
Exercise Reduces Stress
One of the most common mental health benefits of exercises is that it helps relieve mental and physical tension or stress. It positively increases the brain chemicals involved in managing stress, as well.
“Exercise also increases blood circulation in the brain, which is linked to improvements in mood and attention. Spending as little as 20 minutes a day on exercise can actually increase your overall productivity, and decrease energy wasted from mental stress,” Jenny C. Yip, PsyD, ABPP, said.
Makes You Happy
Physical activities are known to help in the release of a brain chemical known as endorphins whose primary purpose is to create the feeling of happiness and euphoria. It is one the reasons why physical activities are also recommended by doctors in the treatment of mild depression and anxiety, as well. It will literally make you feel happy.
So you are not just positively improving your physical body, but you make yourself happy at the same time, sounds like a win-win situation, right?
As we age, our brain processes and memory usually declines. Physical movements help improve memory retention and activity. It also helps strengthen your concentration which in turn helps you think more clearly. It protects your brain against cognitive decline and brain diseases.
Your learning and memory capacity is significantly improved with the help of exercises by producing new brain cells. “The hippocampus is critical for the creation of new memories; it’s one of the first regions of the brain to deteriorate as we get older — and much more severely in Alzheimer’s disease,” said Michael Yassa, PhD, director of UCI Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. “Improving the function of the hippocampus holds much promise for improving memory in everyday settings.”
Being creative and productive are also by-products of exercise.
Helps in Addiction
Another chemical produced in the brain is called dopamine which is the reward or pleasure chemical. Physical activities help people with addiction to control their cravings thanks to the release of dopamine. It also helps people with alcohol addiction to sleep better by helping reboot the body clock.
Makes You Feel Confident
Since physical activities can improve your mental well-being, it can also enhance your sense of self-esteem and promote positive self-image.
“The simple act of focusing on exercise can give us a break from current concerns and damaging self-talk,” Sarah Gingell, PhD, MBACP, CPsych, wrote. “Further, depending on the activity, people may benefit from calming exercises, be energized, and get outside or interact with others, all of which are known to improve mood and general health.”
As mentioned, it helps in the production of the “feel good brain chemicals” which instantly changes your mood and gives you a sense of happiness. It makes you more confident.
Physical activities do not to have to be spent in long hours at the gym. You can make yourself enjoy exercises done in a short span of time. A 30-minute moderate exercise, a few times a week can improve your physical and mental health. Find activities that you will enjoy and make them part of your daily routine. Focus on the benefits of exercise and what it can offer your body and mind.