Are you already burned out from a week of workload you need to accomplish? Do you have workmates who are not easy to be with? Or perhaps, there has been too much pressure from your home and school. Whether you like it or not, stress is just around the corner.
As you might already know, mental health is one of the pressing issues nowadays. People should be aware and proactive when it comes to their mental wellbeing. There are many ways to protect your mental health from all kinds of stress and tensions. You can start with a simple regular exercise routine.
Yes, a structured physical activity could make a big difference as you deal with different people and concerns every day. Therefore, we’ve highlighted some positive effects of regular exercise on your mental health. A short work-out a day might be what you need to think, feel, and act better.
Stress is one of the factors that can trigger problems in your mental health. But take note that stress isn’t always bad. It’s only a matter of how you are handling it. Exercise is one of the effective mechanisms to cope with stress.
As your body perceives stress, it releases stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. They prepare your body for a fight or flight response during stressful situations. If you are always under too much stress, your body may also continuously pump out these hormones.
Unfortunately, an overproduction of adrenaline and cortisol can cause a lot of problems that may affect your overall health. But exercise reduces the level of these stress hormones in your body. It can keep your body calm even when you are experiencing different kinds of stress.
Makes Sleep Better
Sleep is significantly linked to mental health. When you don’t get enough sleep, your psychological state can be affected. Other mental health conditions can also increase problems with sleep. In other words, both your sleep patterns and mental state influence each other. You must not take your sleeping pattern for granted.
According to the medical director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep, exercise has been proven to improve sleep quality. Specifically, aerobic exercise increases the amount of deep sleep, where your brain and body recover after a long day. Aside from that, deep sleep helps you boost your immune system and take control of stress and anxiety.
When you feel down at work or school, going for a run or walk might help you feel better afterward. The link between exercise and mood is also relatively strong.
When you exercise, the body releases another chemical known as endorphins. These endorphins reduce your perception of pain and lead to a more positive mood. It makes you feel good and more relaxed even when problems surround you.
However, the effects of exercise aren’t only short-term. Research indicates that it can also help relieve long-term depression. One study found that depressed adults who were in a fitness program showed more significant improvements than those who were not. They maintained this progress even through a year of follow-up.
Increases Mental Alertness
When your mood is unstable, and you are under so much stress, you might lose your focus and attention. It might be challenging to concentrate on doing specific tasks, causing you to be unproductive and inefficient.
Fortunately, you can protect your memory and thinking skills through exercise. When you do exercise, blood flow increases in your body, including your brain. Better circulation of blood in your body allows more energy and oxygen, which makes your brain perform at its best.
Aside from that, the sweat you produced while exercising, enhances mental capacity in your hippocampus. It is the part of your brain, which is essential for learning and memory. During exercise, your hippocampus is highly productive. Research shows that when neurons of the hippocampus are more active, the cognitive function also improves.
Self-efficacy is the belief that you can succeed and accomplish a task. It plays a significant role in regulating your emotional states. When you have high self-efficacy, you can successfully manage negative situations.
On the other hand, a feeling of low self-efficacy can prevent you from dealing with stressful events effectively. Therefore, you must improve your self-efficacy so that you can protect your mental health better.
One way to boost your self-efficacy is through exercise. A study by Fletcher suggests that exercise increases an individual’s self-efficacy. Moreover, those individuals with higher belief in themselves are more likely to succeed in health behaviors, such as stress management.
Enhances Social Interaction
A key trigger for mental health problems is social isolation. Supportive relationships, on the other hand, are beneficial to the mental wellbeing of individuals. There are many ways to enhance social interaction. However, group exercise is one of the essential ways to improve your social skills. You can check out some fitness programs to start with, such as Adam Kemp.
One research studied the potential effects of physical activity on trust and trustworthiness, which are both essential components in engaging in social interaction. They found out that those who are exposed to physical activity show more trust and prosocial behaviors than those who were not exposed.
Your mental wellbeing matters as much as your physical health. Unfortunately, most people overlook its importance. They do not realize that their mental health could be at risk while dealing with different kinds of people and problems every day. You must guard your mental health with healthy habits, such as regular exercise. Otherwise, you might not be able to manage stress and anxiety when the situation gets worse.