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The effects of exercise on Mental health

July 21, 2021

We all know that Exercise plays a very important role in improving physical health. But a lot of people might not be aware is the effect that exercise can have on a person’s mental health. Mind influences body immune system. In other words, our immune system maintains our health and mind and mental state can alter it. Mental health is important in every person’s life. Poor mental health can alter the person’s balance and its coordination with the body.  

People with severe mental health face a reduced life expectancy compared to the general population. People suffering from mental illness have stress and anxiety, depression, cardio vascular diseases, heart problems, diabetes and various other health problems. Taking good care of themselves, taking balance diet and regularly doing physical exercise and yoga training can be beneficial to cure the mental illness. But the most effective is physical exercises. 

Physical exercises have an immediate, long lasting and protective benefits for the brain and that can last for the rest of life.  Firstly, exercise is proven to greatly reduce day to day stress, increase self- reported happiness levels and lower levels of sadness and loneliness both in the short term and long term. Exercise is very useful in reduction of mental health problems like unwanted stress, prolonged anxiety and depression. There are many studies shows that physical exercise helps in reduction of stress and depression to a great extent.

 So, why does exercise have such a positive effect on body?  Exercise boosts the body’s production of endorphins which are the hormones that help to relax, feel more pleasure, feel less pain and reduce the amount of stress hormone in the body called cortisol. Exercise also helps the brain produce more dopamine and serotonin, which are the chemicals responsible for making you feel happy. 

Activities like fitness classes and team sports are opportunities for social interaction which is proven to boost moods and decrease the feeling of loneliness. When it becomes a habit, exercise can also improve self- esteem and foster sense of self-worth. 

An observational study looking at million s of adults found that on average there forty two percent reduction in the number of poor mental health days experienced by those who exercise regularly compared to people who don’t exercise.  Doing exercise for 30 to 40 minutes in a day is corelated with the biggest decrease in the mental health illness. Exercising for more than three hours a day was associated with worse mental health than exercising at all. Therefore, exercising is not healthy, it was also found that sorts aerobics were associated with the biggest reductions in poor mental health days. But, more than a quarter of adults across the world do not get enough exercise, therefore one should identify what exercises they enjoy doing and then set reasonable goals and tick to an exercise routine to see positive results. For example- individuals in their 20s can commit to wide variety of exercises or yoga training but should focus on developing bone mineral density. So, they should do weight- bearing exercises that promote bone growth. These include exercises such as jogging, running etc. Individuals in their 30 and 40s start to lose muscles, therefore for weight training it is important during the time. It is also important to do various exercises that are good for cardio vascular system like swimming. Individuals over 50 should focus in exercises that help with balance. Light exercises like Stretching, aerobic exercises are very useful in this regard. However, it is important to check with the doctor before staring any new exercise routine to make sure that they are safe for you. 

Therefore, a combined physical maintenance an exercise can work on things like upper body strength, lower body strength, core strengthening as well as their aerobic capabilities and endurance things like range of motions, flexibility, agility and things like balance and coordination. So, overall, there is a lot of different physical exercises which corelate a lot with the mental health. 

How physical exercise effect brain?

 Few are the benefits of exercise on our brain are –

  • Physical exercise has immediate effects on our brain. A single work out that an individual do will immediately increase levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline. That is going to increase the mood right after the work out.
  • A single workout can improve the ability to shift and focus attention and that focus improvement will last for few hours. 
  • A workout will reduce the reaction time which means it stimulates alertness and attention. 
  • Exercise produces brand new brain cells, which helps to improve long term memory.  
  • Physical exercise also has an impact on mood and improve brain function. 
  • The more an individual workout, the more strength the brain gains. It became healthy and away from mental illness. 
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