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Exercise Helps Your Mental Health

Mental Health as Well as Physical Good Health

There’s little doubt that exercise improves your mental health and can help to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression. The World Health Organisation (WHO, 2015), which has been in the news for other reasons recently, recommends that physical exercise is used as one of the standard treatments for depression. In fact, a review (Kyam et al. 2016) of the research on this topic revealed that the benefits of exercise in treating depression is particularly pronounced when no other treatment is being used.

Boost your immune system

The evidence demonstrates that exercise boosts our immune system specifically, as well as our general health. It also releases neurochemicals known as endorphins into the brain, which simply make us feel better.

The psychological benefits of exercise

Over and above the physiological benefits of exercise, there are a number of psychological benefits of exercise.

Clears your mind

Physical activity acts to displace the negative thoughts that may be whirling around your mind, and allows you some peaceful time to give your mind time to relax.

 

Improves your self-esteem

Exercise and physical activity in general help to keep your body in good order, which in turn helps to keep your mind fit. This is a virtuous circle – when you do things which keep both mind and body in good shape you feel better about yourself and improve your self-esteem.

 

Better sleep

It has long been thought that regular physical activity helps to regulate the two primary mechanisms that control the quality of our sleep. These are the circadian and homeostatic rhythms. More exercise means better sleep, which in turn means better mental health.

 

A healthy way to cope

While there are many ways to cope with life’s stresses and strains, the right kind of exercise is one of the healthiest. It can allow you to cope more effectively with life’s frustrations without hurting yourself or others.

So, there you have it. Exercise isn’t just a powerful means of maintaining a fit and healthy body – it is also fundamentally supportive of good mental health, and who couldn’t use a little more of that at the moment?

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