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Mental health benefits of exercise
Posted date: 17-Apr-2020

 

We’ve all heard about how exercising can help boost your mood and make you feel refreshed or feel happier after, but do you know how great the mental benefits of exercise are? Let us break it down for you.

 

#1 IMPROVE YOUR MOOD

 

Small changes in our lifestyles such as a slight increase in exercise levels create a positive upward spiral that increases the sensitivity of the dopamine receptors that signal reward. Dopamine plays a big role in how we feel pleasure and is a big part of our ability to think and plan, it helps us strive, focus and find things interesting.

 

Exercising also stimulates our body to not only produce dopamine, but also endorphins, enkephalins and serotonin.

 

  • Endorphins: Structurally similar to the drug Morphine, are considered natural painkillers and can also bring about feelings of euphoria and general well-being.
  • Enkephalins: Play a role in memory, learning, emotional behaviour and pain. When released, help reduce the sensation of pain and increase relief from pain. May also help create “Runner’s High” – the temporary state of euphoria that athletes reach after long periods of running or continuous exercise.
  • Serotonin: Contributes to well-being and happiness. Believed to help regulate mood and social behaviour, appetite, digestion, sleep and memory

 

#2 REDUCE STRESS

 

Exercising requires us to take a break from what we’re doing such as household chores and work, it also includes taking us away from our phones and the television to focus on ourselves – this short period of time helps us to take a break from current concerns, which in turn helps to reduce stress.

 

Exercising increases your heart rate and reverses stress-induced brain damage by stimulating the production of neurohormones like norepinephrine – which not only improves cognition and mood, but also improves your thinking clouded by stressful events and your body’s overall ability to respond to stress.

 

#3 BOOST BRAIN HEALTH

 

Studies have shown that cardiovascular exercises help with neurogenesis – a process that creates new brain cells. This improves overall brain performance and strengthens the ‘Hippocampus’ – the part of our brains responsible for memory and learning. This in turn helps to prevent cognitive decline and memory loss.

 

Also, exercising also helps to improve brain health as it improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to our brain, increases our blood flow and the blood supply to our brain, helping us to thick better and a lot more clearly.

 

Now it’s time to stop reading and time to start on planning an exercise routine!