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How Exercise Helps Mental Health

If you’re feeling down and discouraged, go for a walk or a run. Any type of exercise can boost your mental health. It helps calm you down and burns off the hormones of stress, while boosting the hormones that make you feel good. It does more than just help alter your mood or improve longer standing mental issues, it can improve your cognitive functioning and make you more alert.

Exercise increases circulation.

Increased circulation also means it increases the oxygen and nutrients sent to all parts of the body, including the brain. That can feed and protect the brain cells. Exercise also helps create new neural paths, which can increase mental acuity. Until recently, scientists didn’t know about the plasticity of the brain or the ability to raise IQ. Exercise boosts neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells. It can boost overall brain performance, including memory.

Those stress hormones serve a purpose.

When man lived in caves, hunted and gathered to survive and had to face dangers that few of us ever encounter, stress hormones prepared him to run or fight. Today, the stressors are quite different, but the fight or flight response remains. You can burn off those hormones of stress and get your body back to normal by exercising. In addition to that, exercise also encourages the body to produce hormones that make you feel good.

Exercise can increase the beneficial belly bugs.

Your body has more microbes than it has cells. It’s your microbiome, and important for your survival. Your microbes help digest food and produce enzymes that can control your mental processes. Some scientists believe that certain mental conditions, such as schizophrenia, ADD and depression can occur due to an imbalance of beneficial microbes compared to harmful ones. While your diet plays an important role in the microbiome and the type of microbes that are most prominent, so does exercise. Studies show it can improve the benefit of the microbes in the gut.

  • You’ll sleep sounder when you exercise. Quality sleep is important for reorganizing the brain and doing repairs. It’s also a time when waste in the brain is removed. If you get sound sleep, it helps prevent mental decline.
  • Many mental health experts are using exercise as an adjunct therapy. It’s been found to be as effective as some medications and has only beneficial side effects.
  • You’ll have an improved self-image once you start exercising, even before you see results. Once you workout for a while, it can improve your posture, making you look and feel more confident.
  • Exercise can be a great coping mechanism and replace ones that are more destructive. It can replace overeating, excess indulgence in drugs or alcohol or smoking and make you feel more in control.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

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