Exercise and Mental Health
For obvious reasons, the physical benefits of regular exercise have been and will continue to be heavily emphasized. In addition to the physical benefits, regular exercise also provides profound benefits to an individual’s mental health.
Regular exercise has been shown to:
- Reduce stress
- Reduce anxiety and depression
- Boost self-esteem
- Improve sleep
Regular exercise can improve mood in men with mild to moderate depression, and it may also play a supporting role in treating severe depression.
How does exercise help stress, anxiety, mood, and depression?
The positive effects of exercise on mood likely result from an increased release of endorphins and other neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and norepinephrine. When released, endorphins produce pain control throughout the body as well as a sense of well being. Depression is caused by a decrease in certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and norepinephrine. The increase in the levels of these neurotransmitters brought on by exercise explains its beneficial role in treating the disease.
Exercise has many additional psychological and emotional benefits, including but not limited to the following:
- Increased Confidence. Getting in shape can make you feel better about your appearance. Additionally, setting and meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence.
- Decreased Stress. Exercise provides a distraction from daily stresses and the act of exercising is a great stress reliever.
- More Socialization. Exercise gives you the chance to meet and socialize with others, which can improve mood and self-esteem.
- Healthy Coping Skills. Exercise is a healthy alternative to drinking, smoking, or dwelling on bothersome issues. Exercise provides a positive channel with which to manage anxiety or depression.
EMG Exercise Homepage: Exercise for Men