Exercising to Boost Mental Health
Mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and stress are constantly on the rise in the UK. When you consider how stressful modern life can be, this is no surprise. There are a range of treatments available to those who suffer with these conditions, including talking therapies and medication where it is necessary.
However, if you are suffering with any kind of mental health condition, then studies have shown that exercise can have a hugely positive effect. Here are a couple of examples of how exercise can help to promote a healthy mind.
Boost Endorphins and Serotonin Levels
For a lot of people, especially those who suffer with conditions such as anxiety and depression, the main problem is exacerbated by a lack of serotonin and endorphins (feel good hormones). There are plenty of things that you can do to increase the levels of endorphins and serotonin in your brain, from changing certain habits and taking up mindfulness. However, one of the most effective ways of doing this is to create a workout plan. Regular exercise has been shown to boost the levels of serotonin in the brain as well as release large amounts of endorphins.
Reduce Stress Levels
Stress is something that we all suffer from at some point in our lives, some more than others. The body’s stress response can be uncomfortable and can often lead to physical problems as well as temporary anxiety and panic symptoms. This is why it is so important that you do everything that you can to bring your stress levels down to a manageable level. Exercise is one of the best ways of doing this. By sweating it out, you release feel good hormones and lower stress levels.
Improve Confidence Levels
For a lot of people, confidence issues and low self-esteem can cause real problems and massively affect their mental health. By taking up regular exercise, you will find that your confidence gets a real boost. This is especially true if you are not happy with the way that you look and feel. By exercising, you can change both of these things, which in turn will boost your confidence massively.
Reduce Anxiety Levels
Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health issues in the world. They can cause you to feel generally unwell and often trigger panic attacks. If you have ever suffered with anxiety before, then you will know that the body’s fight or flight response is activated when the brain detects perceived danger. This is a built in defence mechanism that humans have had since time began.
The problem is that for anxiety sufferers, the fight or flight reaction is activated when there is no real danger. Adrenaline is released in large quantities which cause the heart to race, the legs to shake and a whole host of other symptoms. The best way to combat this problem is exercise. By exercising regularly, you are able to burn off that extra adrenaline to bring your body back to normal in a much shorter space of time.
If you struggle with insomnia, then you will know what it’s really like to feel completely exhausted. You might struggle to fall asleep, or you might struggle to stay asleep. For a lot of insomniacs, waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep at all is not uncommon. One of the best ways to combat insomnia is regular exercise. By tiring out your body and mind as much as possible, plus reducing your stress levels, you are far more likely to get a good night’s sleep.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways in which regular exercise can really benefit your mental health, especially if you have a pre-existing mental health condition. If you don’t feel comfortable exercising in the gym then getting outdoors is a great idea. Alternatively, things like cross trainers, treadmills and exercise bikes can be a great addition to the home gym and allow you to get exercise on a daily basis.