You are probably aware of some of the benefits of exercise on the body. But what are the benefits of exercise on mental health?
- Increased blood flow to the brain. When one exercises most of the increased volume of blood in circulation is to muscles but there is an increased volume of blood passing to the brain as well. Also exercising is beneficial to the health of the cardiovascular system. Thus blood flow to the brain at rest is enhanced due to that effect of exercise.
- Reduction in anxiety and depression. This occurs via substances released in the brain in response to exercise but also via the psychological benefits associated with exercise over time such as feeling fitter, stronger and more able. Exercising outdoors has an additive benefit to anxiety reduction due to positive psychological sensory effects of being outside whether than be visual (sunlight, scenery), auditory (bird song, running water), via smells (cut grass) or touch (wind).
- Exercise can often be interactive whether working out with a friend, club or trainer. This of course provides social contact at the same time as the other boosts to mood, which are then super additive.
- Increase in general mood. This is mediated in the same way as for the above benefits.
All of the above benefits can then lead to:
- Improved sleep.
- Increased interest in sex.
- Better stress resilience.
- Increased mental energy.
I hope you are sold on the benefits of exercise on mental health. If you are suffering from a mental health problem then it might not be as straight forward as just starting to exercise. Do some research on line first, make a plan, chose an exercise form that appeals to you, set some achievable goals (short, medium and long term), start small but make it progressive and contact someone like me first if you are not sure how to start or feel that you need specialist assistance.
I offer a free 30 minute consultation so please get in touch today to book one of those.
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