What are the Top 10 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise?

1. Reduces Stress

  • Exercise increases concentrations of norepinephrine;
  • Moderates the brain’s response to stress; and
  • Boost the body’s ability to deal with existing physical symptoms that stress and worrying creates.

2. Alleviates Depression

  • Exercise releases endorphins.
  • Creates feelings of happiness and euphoria.
  • Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication.
  • Promotes: neural growth, reduced inflammation, feelings of calmness and well-being.

3. Alleviates Anxiety

  • Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment.
  • Exercise releases endorphins:
    • Relieves tension and stress.
    • Boosts physical and mental energy.
    • Enhances well-being.

4. Reduces Symptoms of ADHD

  • Boosts brain’s norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin levels- all of which affect focus and attention.
  • Improves: Concentration, Motivation, Memory & Mood.
  • Exercise works in much the same way as Ritalin and Adderall.

5. Reduces Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Body focus during exercise can help the nervous system become “unstuck” and begin to move out of the immobilisation stress response.
  • Exercises that involve cross movement and engage both arms and legs are best choices.

6. Shaper Memory and Brainpower

  • Exercise stimulates the growth of new brain cells (neurogenesis) and helps prevent age-related decline.
  • Increases levels of a brain-derived protein (aka BDNF): helps with decision making and higher thinking, and learning.
  • Increases production of cells in hippocampus.

7. Higher Self-Esteem

  • Investment in your mind, body, and soul.
  • Fosters sense of self-worth.
  • Sense of empowerment.
  • Positive self-image.
  • Sense of achievement.

8. Improves Sleep

  • Short burst of exercise can help regulate your sleep patterns.
  • Exercise raises body’s core temperature.
  • Return to normal temperature post-exercise signals the body that it is time to sleep.

9. Increased Energy and Productivity

  • Research shows that regular exercise boosts energy level and increases work productivity.

10. Stronger Resilience

  • Boosts immune system and reduces the impact of stress.
  • Provides a health coping mechanism for mental or emotional life challenges.
  • Dopamine “reward chemical” released in response to any foam of pleasure.
  • Effectively distracts drug and alcohol addicts making them de-prioritise cravings (at least short term).
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