Can exercise improve your mood? Regular physical exercise is good for the body, but it can be even better for the mind. Exercise’s mental health benefits include a higher capacity to focus, improved memory, mood boost, and stress relief. Also, can increase the ability to cope with the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
What’s even better is that you don’t have to push yourself to the limit to experience some of these mental health benefits. Also, your age or fitness level do not matter when you want to improve your mental state. In this article, we will be talking about exercise and how it can improve our mental focus and mood.
Exercise Improves Mental Health
There is more to exercise than just big muscles and looking good. These are visible advantages, but the less visible ones might be even more important. Would you exercise if you wouldn’t feel well mentally afterward? Probably not. So, working out should be a must for everyone who wants to have that sense of well-being and peace.
Exercise is like natural medicine for the mind; it helps us remember things, be energetic, relaxed, and most importantly, it helps us have a more positive outlook on life.
When it comes to mental health challenges, exercise can help us overcome them. Yes, it may be difficult to find the motivation to finally do it, and some argue genetics might be involved, but you need to do it.
Exercise and Depression
Studies have shown that regular exercise, like a spinning workout routine or a yoga class, can dramatically improve our mental health. Moreover, when it comes to depression, working out might be as effective as the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. Another study proved that aerobics helped treat major symptoms of depression in patients and, in some cases, it even prevented them from relapsing.
Through regular workouts, you can avoid falling into that deep dark hole ever again. Moreover, exercise improves your mental focus. This will help you break the circle of dark thoughts by refocusing attention onto something else. It also boosts your mood by releasing endorphins, the feel-good chemicals, that lift your spirit and can help you overcome the tough times in your life.
Exercise, Anxiety, and Stress
When it comes to natural anti-anxiety remedies, exercise is probably the best of them. It relieves stress and tension while offering you a boost of both physical and mental energy. The type of exercise is of no major importance as long as you are focused on what you’re doing and don’t let your mind slip away.
To make this easier for you, try to concentrate on one thing at a time. The pacing of your feet on the ground, your breathing rhythm, and so on and so forth. This works great if you want to escape those worrying thoughts that are constantly invading your mind. This can be a great exercise when you struggle with anxiety or constant stress, no matter the cause of it.
Exercise also Helps with PTSD and Trauma
Since we are talking about the improvement of our mental focus and mood, it’s worth mentioning another benefit of exercise: alleviating the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. If you focus only on what your body is doing and what it feels like during exercise, it can greatly help both your body and mind to get unstuck from problems like PTSD or even trauma. Some of the best options in such cases are exercises that work large muscle groups, like swimming, dancing, running, or weight training.
ADHD Symptoms Can Be Reduced through Exercise
When it comes to improving mental focus, probably the best example of this benefit being really felt can be seen in people who suffer from ADHD. This is because physical exercise can rapidly boost the levels of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in the brain. All these chemicals have a big influence on attention and concentration.
A 2008 study showed that physical activity improves attentional performance in teenagers. This is yet another proof that working out works exactly as or even better than certain medications.
Other Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
Apart from what we have already mentioned, physical exercise has some other mental benefits, like:
- It improves your self-esteem: When you exercise regularly, your body inevitably changes along with your mind. This process will help you feel a lot better both physically and mentally;
- It improves your memory and acuity: The same endorphins that lift your spirits can also improve your memory and acuity. You will immediately notice that you have become a lot sharper when it comes to doing various tasks. And also you are no longer forgetting things;
- It helps you sleep better: You don’t have to go in professional athlete mode to have a better sleep. Even short workouts in the morning and evening can help you with it. You can do some stretching or yoga to have a better night’s sleep;
- It improves your resilience: This part goes hand in hand with the fact that exercise can be a powerful ally against depression and anxiety symptoms. When facing various challenges and obstacles in life, a person who works out will overcome them more easily than inactive people. Exercise is also a healthy way to solve your issues while skipping unhealthy habits like drinking, smoking, gambling, or doing drugs;
- It enhances your creativity: Maybe an unexpected benefit of exercise is enhancing your creativity and making you see the world in a new light. Friedrich Nietzsche once said that “Walking gives wings to the imagination,” and he wasn’t too far from the truth. Some psychologists discovered last year that walking, regardless if it’s outside or on a treadmill, boosts creative thinking. So, next time you need to come up with a brilliant idea, just go outside. It will come to you!
So, can exercise improve your mood and mental focus? All in all, it appears that physical exercise, if done regularly, has a plethora of health benefits that are not only related to the body, but also to the mind. Exercise can improve your mental focus and mood, creativity, energy levels, resilience, sleep quality, and self-esteem.
What’s more, working out can help immensely people suffering from various mental issues like depression, stress, anxiety, ADHD, or PTSD. It can ameliorate their symptoms and prevent a relapse. You don’t need to be a professional athlete to enjoy these benefits, but you do need to stay active.