Exercise and Its Benefits to Wellness of Mind and Body

In the last decade, scientists have studied how exercise can enrich brain function. No matter the person’s age or fitness level, research shows that making time for exercise offers some important mental advantages.

Here are six ways regular exercise can boost cognition and your general sense of well-being:

Stress Reduction
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Stress reduction is among the most familiar mental benefits of exercise. Sweating up can help alleviate physical and mental stress. It also increases your body’s supply of norepinephrine, a chemical that can regulate your brain’s stress response. So if you feel at times that you’re being swallowed by mental tension, get out there and start moving.
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Increased Happy Hormone Production

Slogging through a few miles on your treadmill can be such a challenge, but it’s definitely worth the effort! As you may have heard before, exercise releases happy hormones known as endorphins. According to studies, exercise can even ease symptoms in clinically depressed patients. That’s the reason doctors advise gym time for anyone who has depression or anxiety as long as their physical condition allows. Sometimes, exercise can equal the power of antidepressant drugs.

No worries if you’re not exactly the gym buff type — you can get an instant happy buzz even if you work out for only 30 minutes twice or thrice weekly.

Self-Confidence Boost

Get on the treadmill to look and feel like a superstar. From the core, physical fitness drives up your self-esteem and shapes a positive self-image. No matter your size, age, weight or gender, exercise can rapidly elevate your sense of self-worth.
Loving the Great Outdoors

Exercising in the great outdoors can boost your self-esteem even more. Do a bit of research and look for an outdoor workout that is compatible with your style, whether jogging in the park or canoeing or biking or what have you. All that Vitamin D you get from soaking up the sun (wearing that sunscreen, of course!) can stop those depressive symptoms on their tracks.

Maintaining Cognitive Ability

It’s hardly good news, but it’s a fact — as we get older, our cognitive abilities decline. Even as exercise and a healthy diet are no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, they can help combat cognitive decline, which generally starts after a person turns 45. In people between the ages of 25 and 45, exercise boosts the levels of particular brain chemicals that prevent or delay the degeneration of the hippocampus, that area of the brain that controls learning and memory.

Anxiety Alleviation

Finally, just a little Q & A: which do you think is better when it comes to relieving anxiety — getting a warm bubble bath or jogging in the park? The answer might surprise you. Those warm and fuzzy chemicals produced by your body when you exercise and even after, can help you feel calmer and more relaxed. Who says exercise is just good for physical health?