Exercise is good for your body, as everyone knows. Regular exercise is good for your joints and your heart, for example, but did you know that exercise is good for your mental wellbeing too?
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Physical activity has a huge potential to support your well-being. Even a short 10-minute walk can be enough to lift your mood and give you more energy.
Regular exercise can also lift your self-esteem and reduce the amount of stress and anxiety that you feel. It can also ward off mental health problems and improve your quality of life.
Impact On Your Mood
Regular exercise has a positive impact on your mood. After taking part in physical activity, such as going for a walk or swimming, you feel more content, awake, and calm than you do after something sedentary, like watching television or reading a book. If you’re already in a low mood, exercise can help to lift it again and make you feel better.
There are a lot of studies that look into how being physically active at different intensity levels affect your mood. In general, the research agrees that low-intensity aerobic exercise, for about half an hour, three to five times a week is the best for lifting your mood and making you feel more alert. If you’re still building up to working out more, you can support your efforts with a good diet and supplements. Visit the website to find out more about supplements.
Impact On Your Stress
When you feel under threat, your body ups its natural defences, which makes you feel stressed. Stress can trigger several physical symptoms, make you behave differently, and make you experience your emotions more intensely.
The most common physical symptoms that come with stress include trouble sleeping, sweating, and losing your appetite. These symptoms are caused by stress hormones in the body, often known as the ‘fight or flight response’. These hormones are adrenaline and noradrenaline. These both raise your blood pressure, make your heart beat faster, and make you sweat more because your body thinks it has to prepare for an emergency and to react. These responses reduce blood flow to the skin and stomach activity, while another stress hormone, cortisol, releases sugar and fat into your system to attempt to increase your energy levels.
Exercise is an effective way to relieve stress and reduce all these unpleasant side effects.
Impact On Your Self-Esteem
As well as being good for your physical health, exercise can also increase your self-esteem and self-worth. How you feel about yourself is a good indicator of how your mental wellbeing is doing, and how able you are to cope with the stress of daily life.
The relationship between good self-esteem and regular exercise has been found in children, teenagers, adults, and seniors, in both men and women.
Exercise And Dementia And Cognitive Decline In Older People
Improvements in healthcare mean that people are living longer now, with more and more people living to well over 65 years of age. As well as this increase in life expectancy, there has also been an increase in the number of people who are living with cognitive decline and other memory-based conditions, such as dementia.
Dementia is a progressive disease that results in increased memory loss often. It’s also common for older people to experience other declines in their cognitive function, such as reduced ability to concentrate or pay attention. Exercise is known to be an effective way to reduce your likelihood of developing dementia or losing your cognitive function. If you already have these conditions, regular exercise can help to prevent your symptoms from declining further. Adults who are active every day are less likely to experience depression, dementia, and cognitive decline.
Impact On Depression And Anxiety
Being more physically active is a common alternative way to treat depression. It can be used on its own as a treatment and coping tool, or it can be used alongside other treatments such as medication and therapy. The advantage of exercise is that it comes with very few side effects, and it doesn’t come with any of the stigmas that some people have about having to attend therapy or counselling or take antidepressants.
Exercising on a regular basis can also reduce your levels of anxiety if you struggle with mild symptoms. Exercise can also be a useful tool as part of the treatment for clinical anxiety.
Exercise is a great tool for mental wellbeing of all kinds. It’s available to everyone, can be adapted to match all budgets, and is an empowering way to care for yourself.
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*This is a collaborative article