If you’re anything like the average American, you spend about eight hours at a desk every day (at least), typing away and staring at a screen. Some days you probably feel like a sluggish, mindless automaton. When you’re not working, you’re likely doing just about anything to take your mind off the fact that you’ve been working for the man all week (we see you, Netflix bingers). In our last article, we talked about how important a good night of sleep is to help you feel energized and maintain focus, both on work and in everyday life. Now, we’re going to talk about the importance of exercise for mental health.
Exercise is for More Than Just Weight Loss
The first thing that probably came to your mind when you read “exercise” was something along the lines of, “Yeah, I could stand to lose a couple of pounds.” While exercising is one means of losing weight, that’s not what we’re talking about here. In fact, you may not even want to get on the scale for what we’re talking about.
Exercise is incredibly beneficial to your mental health, for a number of reasons. First, exercise gets your blood moving through your body and into your brain. Long story very short, the movement of the blood through your brain helps stimulate the portions responsible for memory formation, mood, and motivation.
Additionally, which you’ll know if you’ve ever seen Legally Blonde, exercise helps to create endorphins. These are feel-good hormones that activate opiate receptors in the brain. Essentially, exercise is like a powerful, pain-relieving drug! So not only is it possible for you to lose weight while exercising, but it’ll also make you happier in the long run. And as another plus, your self-esteem will likely improve as well.
Exercise for Mental Health
Exercise is a great holistic method to help treat a number of conditions, from depression to ADHD. Studies have proven that exercise can be just as effective as antidepressant and antianxiety medications over time.
Specifically for individuals suffering from depression or anxiety, exercise not only gives them the endorphin rush, but also provides a distraction from everyday life. Sometimes the most important thing you can do for yourself takes an hour out of the day to focus specifically on your health, both mentally and physically. Exercise is a great outlet for this.
In addition to helping with mental disorders, exercise also offers the following mental health benefits:
- Clearer thinking
- Improved sleep
- Higher energy levels
- Better memory
Exercise More – Pay Less for Therapy
With as few as 30 minutes per day, you can improve your mental health. Get out and walk, practice yoga or lift weights at the gym. Whatever it is that you enjoy that gets your blood flowing, make a point to do it. You don’t need to devote a lot of time to exercise to reap the benefits. However, the more time you dedicate to exercising, the less money you’ll have to dedicate to therapy!
Need advice on exercise for mental health or just need to engage in some talk therapy to get you started? Contact CBT Solutions of Baltimore. We can help get you on the right track.