Yes, the brain is the conduit to a part of ourselves that remains unquantifiable, with science still mapping out its related phenomena to this day.
And yes, it’s also an actual organ in your body. That’s why it, too, enjoys the benefits of exercise.
Exercise reduces stress levels in the body, which helps reduce symptoms such as persistent sadness, low mood, lethargy, and anxiety. By engaging in it consciously and regularly, you create a positive loop between your mind and body, building up your physical and mental health at the same time. This is why you always hear it recommended during well being counselling sessions.
Here are some ways physical exercise boosts your mental well-being:
- It Improves Your Cardiovascular Fitness
Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which allows for the quicker disposal of waste products, greater levels of oxygen and nutrients, and, in turn, better cognitive functions. That means more energy regulation, greater relaxation, better moods, and a kinder view of yourself. It also has the secondary effect of encouraging the release of feel-good hormones, providing a much better outlet for your stress response.
- It Enhances Sleep Quality
When you sleep well, your body’s ability to repair itself from the day’s wear and tear is enhanced. Of course, the brain benefits the most from this extended break from all tasks. That’s why you’re more likely to feel anxious and stressed if you don’t get enough rest.
As mentioned before, exercise is a great way to help you get better sleep. It fixes your brain’s natural rhythm for activity and rest, allowing you to find sleeping easier once you finish all your routines.
- It Reduces Feelings Of Isolation
Isolation is a massive factor in many mental illnesses. Most of them often leave patients feeling like they have no recourse for relief from the people surrounding them. Or, they may experience serious drops in their level of enjoyment and engagement in life. This may encourage them to cut their ties, which only exacerbates their situation and gets them stuck in a loop.
Exercise is one way to break that loop. First of all, it encourages you to leave your own space for a time, at least to do harder activities. That allows you to access many of the benefits described in a previous point. Second, it provides an easy way to reconnect with others and even form new bonds. You’re bound to find people exercising for their wellness and even ones who may share the same problems as you.
- It Increases Your Mental Focus
As mentioned before, exercise doesn’t just build up the body but also the mind, making it crucial for mental health. Aside from the physical benefits, it also lets you develop your grit, determination, focus, confidence, and self-esteem. People who exercise also get better at concentration and setting and following goals, which go a long way in helping mental health patients stay on the path of wellness.
- It Helps You Relax
Relaxation is essential for your overall health. It’s the main avenue for releasing stress, which leads to both physical and mental problems in the long run when it accumulates. Naturally, the brain needs its share of non-stressful input to maintain a healthy output.
You can learn how to relax your mind with frequent daily physical exercises. For instance, yoga involves stretching and breathing exercises designed to help people develop a closer link with their mind and body. But jogging usually does the trick, as well. Find a sport or specific exercise you can easily scale to your capabilities and start there.
Also, remember that you can turn to the non-active things you love doing to put your mind at ease. Reading a book, cleaning up bit by bit, lighting an aromatic candle, or listening to your comfort music all help with relaxation.
- It Distracts You From Negative Thoughts
Wallowing in negative thoughts is unfortunately common if you suffer from a mental health issue. While being sad or frustrated about your situation is totally valid, feeding into those thoughts and feelings can only get you stuck in a specific frame of mind. This may not prove helpful or even healthy in the long run.
Exercise lets you assess things in a much clearer way. By letting you set aside your feelings for a time, it provides you with an avenue to view things from a clearer perspective. It’s hard to process thoughts when you’re too deep into them. As a great writer once said, things don’t always seem dire when you look at them in the light.
Take Baby Steps Today
Exercise is not only great for the body but also the mind. It offers a combination of direct and indirect benefits that make the journey to wellness much easier for you. Again, you don’t need to look like an Instagram model at the end. You just need to find the routine that works for you and build from there.