Most people exercise because of the benefits to their physical selves. They work to build strength, increase flexibility, improve their cardiovascular systems, and to look good. But one of the biggest benefits of regular exercise isn’t what it does for your body, but what it does for your mind.
Exercise has the ability to improve one’s mood, reduce stress, and even aid with certain mental health issues. So, if you think your workout is only doing your body good, here are some of the great things it is doing for your mind too.
Boost Feel-Good Chemicals
One of the biggest mental benefits of a tough workout is the release of endorphins, a chemical that makes you feel happy or even euphoric. In fact, those with depression who exercise regularly may see benefits similar to that of an antidepressant. And you don’t have to exercise for hours a day to get those benefits. Even 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week can be enough to get the mood-boosting benefits of exercise.
So, the next time you’re feeling a bit blue, consider grabbing the best sit on top kayak you can find and giving yourself a great workout on the water. You can enjoy the view and get those endorphins kicking too.
Exercise also helps increase concentrations of another chemical called norepinephrine which is known for helping the brain respond more favorably to stress. Additionally, exerting energy can help direct any physical or mental stress, like feelings of frustration or anger, in a healthier direction. Instead of holding those feelings in, or keeping your body tension high, you can release it through exercise. It can also serve as a great distraction when you can’t seem to keep your worries at bay.
Both feeling good and believing you look good can improve self-confidence, and exercising can help with both of those things. It improves feelings of self-worth and can make you perceive yourself as being more attractive. It can also be quite a boost when you realize exactly of what body is capable, and exercise is a great way to discover just what you’re made of.
Fight Mental Decline
Whether it’s the feeling that your memory isn’t what it once was, or concerns about diseases like Alzheimer’s, exercise has been shown to be a key part of the fight against various forms of mental decline as we age. Working out can increase brain chemicals that help prevent degeneration in parts of the brain like the hippocampus, a section that plays a critical role in memory formation and retention. This may make it easier to learn new things as well as retain information we learned previously.
Break Addiction Cycles
One of the reasons addiction is so hard to beat is the release of dopamine, the chemical that acts as a “reward” by providing pleasure. However, exercise can release dopamine just like other less favorable activities including drug use and alcohol. Additionally, jumping into an exercise can distract those in recovery from their cravings, helping them work past them more effectively.
It may also help them regulate certain other functions, like their sleep cycle, to help them get the restorative rest they need to get healthy.
And, in the end, getting some exercise is almost never a bad idea. So, give your physical and mental health a boost by making time to exercise on as many days as possible.