Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health

You know those days when everything that could possibly go wrong, does? How do you deal with it? How do you react?  We all have days like these, and for the both of us, having the opportunity to physically release tension and frustration through sport, exercise or family activity vastly improves our mood and state of mind.  This is no coincidence, it's science!  

Many exercise to improve physical health, build muscle and increase endurance but did you know that  regular exercise has a huge positive impact on your mental health? The following highlights 10 benefits of exercise on mental health leading to a healthier, happier life overall.

1. Reduce Stress

Exercise increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain's response to stress.  If you're having a rough day at the office or at home, take a walk or head to the gym for a quick workout during your lunch hour, or race your kids to the park.  Working up a sweat can help manage physical and mental stress.

2. Boost Happy Chemicals

Exercise releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria.  Studies have shown that exercise can even alleviate symptoms of among the clinically depressed.

3. Improve Self-Confidence

On a very basic level, physical fitness can boost self-esteem and improve positive self-image.  The rush of completing a physical activity not only affects the way we feel but also the way we see our reflection.

4. Enjoy The Great Outdoors

Vitamin D acquired from soaking up the sun can lessen the likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms. Find an outdoor activity that fits your lifestyle, whether its snowshoeing or the monkey bars, getting outside for fresh air can work wonders.

5. Prevent Cognitive Decline

A healthy diet and exercise can help shore up the brain against cognitive decline that begins after age 45.  Maintaining an active lifestyle, especially between the ages of 25 and 45, boots the chemicals in the brain that support and prevent degenerative of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain for memory and learning.

6. Alleviate Anxiety

The warm and fuzzy chemicals that are released during and after exercise can help people with anxiety disorders calm down.  You may be surprised that a 20 minute workout trumps a warm bubble bath when it comes to lessening anxiety!

7. Boost Brainpower

Various studies have shown that cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells and improve overall brain performance increasing efficiency of decision making, higher thinking and learning.

8. Sharpen Memory 

Regular physical activity boosts memory and the ability to learn new things by increasing production of cells in the hippocampus responsible for memory and learning.  Exercise-based brainpower isn't just for kids, it helps grown-ups too!

9. Increase Relaxation

For some, a moderate workout can be the equivalent of a sleeping pill, even for people with insomnia.

10. Be More Productive

Research shows that workers who take time for exercise on a regular basis are more productive and have more energy than their more sedentary peers.

+ The above information was extracted from an infographic created by 


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