Today is Stress Awareness Day, and we’re here to remind you how important fitness is to your mental and emotional wellbeing. There’s a reason you feel so amazing after a great workout, and science has figured out why.
3 Ways Fitness Improves Your Mental Health
1. Exercise Eases Depression
Research suggests that not only can exercise help treat mild to moderate depression as well as medication, but it can also prevent you from relapsing. This is largely because physical activity promotes positive changes in the brain, like reduced inflammation and neural growth. It encourages your brain to release more endorphins, which help you feel happier. Importantly, a good sweat sesh can, plain and simple, serve as an effective distraction and momentarily take you away from your troubles.
It doesn’t end there, either. Regular exercise can do wonders for your confidence (and we all know that solid self-esteem is vital to our happiness), give you a boost thanks to the extra social interaction with other gym-goers and teach you healthier ways to cope with your problems.
2. Fitness Helps Alleviate Anxiety
If you suffer from anxiety and constantly feel like you’re on the edge of panic, frequent workouts might be your best friend. Some researchers believe that regular workouts can help decrease your likelihood of “flipping out” when you’re about to enter that fight-or-flight mentality. The reason is simple: your body’s reaction to panic and exercise are somewhat similar: sweating, increased heart rate, etc. Sure enough, in one study, people with high anxiety were found to be less sensitive to it after incorporating regular workouts into their lifestyle.
3. Physical Activity Helps Reduce Stress
Knowing all of this, then, it’s easy to see why fitness helps reduce your overall stress. Aside from the many ways it can help you fight depression and anxiety, exercise can improve fatigue, sleep, concentration, alertness and boost your general brain function.
While exercise may not be the one and only cure for all of life’s troubles, it certainly is one of the biggest factors that can make you feel significantly better. Even with the busiest of schedules, it’s crucial you make time to break a sweat, however that may be. On this Stress Awareness Day, make you a priority and go work on your fitness!