You shouldn’t begin engaging in regular physical activity only after you’ve already noticed a potential health threat. If you start exercising now, you’ll greatly reduce the risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, amount other health problems. Other benefits of exercise include weight loss and lower blood pressure.
However, regular physical activity won’t only keep your body healthy, but your brain as well. After all, your brain is no different than the muscles in your body. If you don’t stimulate and preserve it, you’ll be faced with certain problems.
Although you’ll experience mental health benefits from almost any type of workout, aerobic exercise is especially known for improving your brain health. Here are some of the main health benefits of exercise for mental health.
Exercise Improves Brain Growth
As you get older, your brain will start shrinking due to the decreased speed of the birth of new brain cells. Engaging in aerobic exercise will improve blood flow to the brain by increasing your heart rate. Increased blood flow means that more oxygen will get delivered to your brain, which will encourage the birth of new brain cells.
Exercise Fights Anxiety And Depression
When you’re depressed, your ability to process information will slow down significantly. This can cause memory problems, as well as difficulty in making decisions and concentrating. If you’re suffering from mild depression, then exercise may be all that you need in order to fight this disorder. For serious depression, you’ll most likely have to take antidepressants and exercise. The reason why exercise is known for fighting anxiety and depression is because it will increase your body’s production of feel-good brain chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals are crucial if you want to experience happiness.
Exercise Decreases Stress
While some chemicals can improve your mental health, others will only harm it. One of the most dangerous chemicals is the stress hormone known as cortisol. Nowadays, stress is one of the most common causes of serious health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Not only that, but stress can also cause memory loss and difficulty thinking. By decreasing cortisol levels, you’ll stimulate the growth of new nerve cells in a part of the brain known as dentate gyrus. This brain area is part of the hippocampus, which is linked to the creation of new memories. When you’re stressed out, the number of brain cells in the dentate gyrus becomes insanely low.
Exercise Improves Your Focus
It can be incredibly hard to focus in today’s world, with all the smartphones and numerous other distractions that we’re faced with almost every moment of the day. In order to focus on the task at hand properly, you’ll need to learn how to ignore these distractions. Thankfully, exercise will teach you discipline, thus making it easier for you to focus all of your attention on a particular task.
Exercise Will Help You Control Your Emotions
If you tend to lose your calm or let your emotions control you often, then you should consider working out regularly. According to a study conducted by the Department of Psychology of the Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, you can decrease emotional stress and increase emotional control just by exercising regularly.
Exercise Will Improve Your Self-Esteem
Having low self-esteem can lead to anxiety, depression, and stress. It can also have a negative impact on your work or academic performance. In order to live a happy life, your self-esteem needs to be high. Thankfully, exercise is known to impact self-esteem positively in people of all ages. A review of 113 different studies was published in the Journal of Sports and Exercise Psychology showed that your self-esteem is likely to change for the better if you exercise regularly.