Pretty much everyone knows about the physical benefits of exercise. However, improving your mental health can be just as important, and luckily, exercise does just that. So, if you are looking for yet another reason to start working out on a regular basis, you should check out these mental health benefits you can look forward to noticing once you begin exercising.
Exercise Can Relieve Depression, Stress, and Mental Fatigue
If you suffer from depression, or if it even runs in your family, you’ll want to begin a regular workout routine. That’s because, according to U.S. News & World Report, sweating off a few hundred calories three times per week is about as effective as using antidepressants. The reason for this is that physical activity can encourage brain neurons to grow, which is especially helpful in those with depression. More specifically, just working out for a half hour can naturally increase essential brain chemicals that include dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
The Huffington Post points out that norepinephrine is the chemical that manages the brain’s response to mental tension, so it’s no surprise that working out can also relieve stress. This means that even if you are more prone to anxiety than depression, you should begin a workout routine. Usually all it takes is about a half hour of exercise to increase the brain chemicals you need to feel happy and stress free. And as an added bonus, you will have less mental fatigue, better sleep and more focus throughout the day.
How Can You Get Started Exercising to Improve Mental Health?
If all the benefits of exercise have you feeling excited to start a new routine, it may be helpful to learn what exactly you should do when it comes to working out. According to Mental Health Foundation, you should try to do about 30 minutes of exercise about five times per week. The exercise should be moderate, which means you breathe fairly heavy but do not feel completely out of breath. And if you do not think you can find an extra half hour in your day to work out, feel free to do three mini workout sessions that last ten minutes each. You will still get the mental and physical benefits of exercise this way without having to rearrange your schedule.
As for what type of exercise to do, it’s really up to you. It depends on your preferences and the equipment you have available. You can join a gym, or you can simply work out around the house. If you choose the latter, consider buying exercise videos, free weights or even a cardio machine, such as a treadmill or elliptical, unless you are fine with walking or jogging around your neighborhood. You can also stock up on smaller workout tools, such as a heart rate monitor watch that makes it easy to keep track of just how hard you are working. Most watches of this kind can record not just your heart rate, but also calories burned, the duration of each workout, and other helpful metrics.
One of the best ways to keep up your exercise routine is to make it a social event, such as meeting up with friends on a regular basis to work out. Some people even choose to create a sports team with their friends and compete with other local teams in sports like soccer, softball and other popular activities. This way, working out is something you look forward to, and the mental health benefits are just an added bonus. Share your exercise experiences with us, by leaving a comment.
Author Bio: April Adams has a love for all things health related. She enjoys learning about new health gadgets and the latest health breakthroughs. In the summer months, you can find April hiking in Capitol Reef National Park. While in the winter, April enjoys snowshoeing the backcountry of the Rocky Mountains.