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by Jane Sandwood
Living in a rundown home that doesn’t provide for your needs can adversely affect your health, and your brain’s home happens to be your body. Exercise can help you fight off mental afflictions such as dementia, but even if you aren’t at risk of these illnesses, overall mental health can still greatly benefit from regular physical activity. While many factors contribute to mental health, physical fitness is a simple thing that most people can accomplish in just a handful of minutes a day. You don’t have to be a marathon runner or body builder to reap the mental health benefits exercise provides.
The Physical Benefits
Exercise, of course, has a host of physical benefits for your body that also extend to your mind. Stress, lack of sleep, low energy and sickness can all contribute to a decline in mental health, but studies have shown that exercise prevents all of these from happening. Regular physical activity prevents your body from becoming a drain on your brain.
The effects don’t just stop there, however. Besides preventing the negative things from happening to you, exercise brings about positive change that can increase your level of mental health. Increases in mental alertness, interest in sex and stamina are linked to higher levels of positive chemicals in the brain such as dopamine.
The Psychological Benefits
Physical effects of exercise may be an indirect boon to your mental health, but there are also many benefits that are outright psychological. Scientists have observed changes in anxiety, depression and mood not long after starting a basic exercise regime. Even more severe mental health issues such as PTSD can be alleviated with the help of exercise.
Again, exercise is not just mental illness prevention; it can make you a more mentally complete person. Increased memory and a greater capacity for learning are just a couple of the money ways your brain can improve after getting your heart rate up. More abstractly, creativity also sees a significant boost post-workout. And let’s face it, seeing a healthier you in the mirror and knowing what you have accomplished is a huge boost to self-confidence that you can’t get anywhere else.
Don’t Let You Stand in Your Way
It may seem scary starting an exercise program, or getting back to it after being away for so long. But starting off slow is starting off smart, and you don’t have to kill yourself at the gym to see results. Just make sure you do the most important part: get started.