THE EMOTIONAL BENEFITS OF EXERCISE
Research has proven that physical exercise can play a positive role in the prevention and treatment of many medical conditions.
Have you ever done any exercise of high intensity after a bad day and felt better afterwards? This is due to the link between exercise and mood. It has been said that within five minutes of ceasing that high intensity exercise there is a mood-enhancement effect. The mood enhancing and 'analgesic' properties associated with exercise are influenced by chemicals in the brain that are similar to 'opiates'. Some researchers believe one of the explanations for feeling good after exercise is the release of a chemical called serotonin (a neurotransmitter targeted by antidepressants).
Be it high intensity cardio or weight training the mood-enhancement effect can be just as strong. Those among us who have ever suffered a panic attack would have found the physical reactions of increased heart rate and heavy perspiration is due to the fight-or-flight effect. These physical reactions are the same with high intensity exercise thus the ability to train the brain and body to recognise these reactions in a more positive light.
Major emotional benefits of exercise:
- Relieves stress
- Improves memory
- Assists with sleeping
- Boosts overall mood
- A sense of well-being
- Improves relaxation
- Increases social contact
- Promotion of self-care and well-being
- Sharper memory and thinking
- Higher self-esteem
- Better sleep
- More energy
- Stronger resilience
- Increased self-satisfaction
Some say the psychological benefits of exercise equal or even surpass physical benefits. It is said by researchers that depression, anxiety and stress can also benefit from exercise involvement. For those who suffer from mild-moderate depression exercise can promote changes in the brain including neural growth, reduced inflammation, feelings of calm and well-being. Exercise releases endorphins that energise the spirit within and makes you feel good. It also serves as a distraction. Exercise can also relieve tension and stress, boost physical and mental energy as physical activity assists muscles to relax and relieves tension in the body, so when the body feels good so will the mind.
In essence, you don't need to become a 'gym junkie' just a regime of regular physical activity comprised of moderate intensity exercise 3 times per week coupled with good nutrition can provide oneself with enough 'feel-good hormones' to stave off any emotional or physical condition and provides you with so many positive benefits.
By Julie Graham
Vision Personal Training - Engadine
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.