Exercise and Mental Health

It is well known that exercise has numerous benefits including controlling weight, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, strengthening bones and muscles and increasing your chances of living longer. With all the positive physical health benefits we neglect to remember that exercise can also improve a person’s mental health and mood. In fact, there is an increase in knowledge about the mental health benefits of regular exercise. Research has found that exercise can help alleviate depression and protect against symptoms of anxiety and development of anxiety disorders.
Simply getting active in your everyday life can provide you with health benefits physically and mentally. Exercise can boost a person’s mood in many ways. For one, it can provide a person with a sense of accomplishment, and two it improves self-confidence and finally having a meaningful activity to look forward to. In addition, it can reduce and/or minimize effects of anxiety and panic on a person. This happens since much of exercise mimics physical symptoms of panic and anxiety such as increased heart rate and perspiration, but with continued exercise, it will help your body better adapt to these physical symptoms when experiencing them with anxiety.
But how much and what kind of exercise? In general, it is suggested everyone engages in physical activity at least 20 minutes per day. That can be something as simple as a walk around the neighborhood, a bike ride, or even dancing to music with your children. It is advised to start out slow with exercise so you do not hurt yourself or wear yourself out too soon. Take it easy, gradually do more and more activities as your body gets more fit and your mind becomes more healthy and happy. With the development of YouTube and other free online videos, you don’t even have to leave your home or pay for an expensive gym membership. Next time you work out do not expect weight loss, instead work on feeling better about yourself and the health benefits will follow.

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