3 Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health

Benefits of exercise on mental health

3 Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health

We all know the physical health benefits of exercise, but recent studies have shown there are several benefits of exercise on mental health, too! From improving memory and learning to helping improve your mood, exercise can keep you healthy in several different ways. Let’s take a look at three big benefits of exercise on mental health:

Exercise may help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety

Several studies have shown that exercise can improve your mood. Physical activity releases endorphins into the brain, causing you to feel happier. These endorphins can, according to the Mayo Clinic, “enhance your sense of well-being.”

The Mayo Clinic also points out that exercise can provide a mental distraction that takes your mind off the worries of the day. You can then simply focus solely on your strength training, cardio, yoga, or any other exercise you choose to participate in. The main goal is to get in some type of exercise and let your body’s natural chemistry take over.

Read more from the Mayo Clinic about the connections between mental health and exercise here.

A workout can help reduce mental decline caused by aging and Alzheimer’s Disease

Although research is still taking place, it appears that regular exercise can improve mental function in healthy people as well as provide benefits for people who have mild Alzheimers or other impairment. It may also help to slow the onset of the disease in those who are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.

The exact reasons for this aren’t yet completely clear, but research has shown a connection between exercise and the function of the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory.

Here’s an article from Discover that sheds a little more light on this subject.

Exercise may increase productivity

If you’re finding yourself a little unmotivated or feeling tired at work, some exercise may be just the thing for you.

This article from The Greatist cites a 2011 study that shows employees who hit 10,000 steps per day “reported significant boosts in job satisfaction and productivity.” 

The reasons for this productivity boost are likely related to the same factors that contribute to improved symptoms of depression and anxiety listed above. Employees who took time for a short walk or other exercise during the work day saw the benefits of improved focus and clearing their heads. 

Workplace exercise programs usually cost very little to implement and the employer gets the benefit of healthy employees who take fewer sick days, have better mental health, and can be more productive.

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