Updated: Aug 5
The positive impact fitness has on the mind.
A healthy heart, improved joint movement, toned muscles; everyone knows that physical activity is good for the body.
But did you know exercise is also extremely beneficial to your mental health and wellbeing?
For the most part, people do seem to be aware of this fact - especially in light of the escapism many individuals found in simple walks and cycles during the pandemic.
However, here at SOFIT Group, we believe the benefits of exercise on mental health are still somewhat understated.
Firstly, physical activity can be anything that gets you moving. From swimming to jogging, there are many ways to take part in exercise, and it does not always have to be strenuous. Even a simple walk outdoors can go a long way in boosting your physical and mental wellbeing.
Mental wellbeing, on the other hand, is a little harder to define, but can include: feeling good about oneself, functioning well individually or in a relationship, dealing with challenges and issues, or feeling a sense of purpose in life.
So what is the impact of exercise on mental wellbeing?
It is important to note that mental health and wellbeing is complicated, and fitness alone is not always enough to deal with serious issues.
If you want more information, we recommend visiting https://www.mind.org.uk/
Nevertheless, there are still several positive impacts exercise has on mental wellbeing.
Impact on our mood. Research has shown that after a fitness/exercise session, people tend to feel far more content, calm and energised. These elements all combine to boost people's moods.
Impact on stress. From tense muscles to loss of appetite, stress can have a profound effect on an individual, which in turn creates a vicious cycle between the mind and body.
Exercise releases endorphins and relaxes muscles, which can relieve and decrease the effects of stress.
Impact on depression and anxiety. Multiple studies have demonstrated the positive impact exercise has on mood states such as depression and anxiety.
Again, it is a complex concept, but exercise has shown to boost positive thoughts and naturally improve internal chemical balances. A session of exercise can also act as a distraction, even if just a temporary one, from negative thoughts.
One study even found that simply running for 15 minutes a day can reduce the risk of depression by 26%.
Impact on sleep. Regular exercise helps to regulate sleeping patterns, and can even reduce insomnia. Overall, a good night's sleep leads to a better sense of mental wellbeing.
In fact, up to 70% of active individuals report better sleep.
Impact on self-esteem. Exercise can encourage an immense feeling of confidence, improving self-esteem and mental wellbeing.
People can improve their mental health through exercise, and it is important to remember that something is better than nothing - even a quick walk can boost your mood.
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