Exercise! Your Brain Will Thank You
You’ll have a hard time finding anyone who’ll argue with the ample evidence that exercise is good for you. Repeated studies have shown it helps prevent, and improve, many health problems. The media have widely reported in recent years how patients with heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes show dramatic health improvements with a daily routine. Recently, we are also learning just how potent the benefits are to your mental health.
A variety of studies over the last 20 years have proven that 30 minutes of exercise a day can improve anxiety symptoms, and depression. New data suggests that it can slow the progress of dementia and improve the well-being of people with schizophrenia as well. While the exact mechanism for how it works is not known, researchers think they have a pretty good idea why.
This is your brain on exercise:
• Exercise releases those feel-good endorphins in your brain.
• It reduces immune system chemicals that can make depression worse.
• It increases body temperature, which has calming effect that can ease anxiety.
• It increases energy and a feeling of wellness.
• It increases self-confidence and positive feelings about appearance.
• It increases social interaction and positive engagement with people.
• Finally, it takes your mind of your problems.
Now that you know what exercise can do, where do you start?
For those of you who don’t want the world to see you just yet, indoor exercise is a good place to start. Purchasing home gym equipment, like treadmills, can be a worthy investment. Rain or shine, you can go for a walk. Walking is a gentle and easy way to begin. For those who want a greater challenge, walking can always progress into running. Both walking and running carry the same benefits to your heart and brain.
Time to meet the world and join a gym? Aside from the social benefits, joining a gym has several advantages. Multiple types of equipment and regular exercise classes, plus the added bonus of trainers are just a few of the perks. One of the hottest workout machines is the elliptical trainer. Ellipticals workout both the upper and lower body by simulating stair climbing, walking and running without the normal stress on the joints.
This is a smart choice if you have been sedentary for a long time.
Is Exercising Outside Even More Beneficial?
It turns out, the answer is yes. A recent study in the UK discovered that exercising in natural environments increases energy and feeling revitalized. It also decreases tension, confusion, anger and depression. The studies show a marked increase in enjoyment after exercising outdoors because of the greater variety of activities that are available. Exercises like: tennis, hiking, biking and swimming outdoors can leave you feeling refreshed. The sun also gives you a natural shot of Vitamin D, which improves your mood and strengthens your immunity.
The many reasons to exercise are too much to list in this short article. How can you not? Stress or depression can make starting an exercise program a little tougher. The good news is another recent study found that just 20 minutes a week can benefit mental health! It only takes a 5 minute walk around the block, every other day, to start feeling better again.