While most of us know that exercising is the best way to keep our bodies healthy, how many know that exercising can also be good for the mind and for our overall mental well-being? Well, regular exercise has been shown to help our bodies by helping keep our bones, muscles and joints healthy while at the same time affecting the way we feel as well as improving our mood, focus and concentration.
What exercise does
When we exercise, our bodies produce hormones known as endorphins. These hormones are known for the high that we feel after vigorous exercise. In addition to helping us feel better through the release of these hormones, exercising also helps improve blood flow to the brain. This has profound effects such as clearing the brain of any toxins that might have built up in addition to oxygenating the brain cells thereby helping them function at their optimum levels.
Helping with focus and concentration
When we exercise, the levels of dopamine and serotonin in our bodies and minds increase. Both of these chemicals are responsible for making us calmer and happier. Due to this, people who exercise often have higher levels of concentration than those who do not. Due to the ability to focus and concentrate for longer, these people often have a morale boost which in turn helps increase their productivity.
Helping with depression
For one, exercise is able to take depressed people away from their thoughts. This gives them time to come out of the gloomy states they may be and have a better outlook on life. Exercising also gives people suffering from depression that extra energy to get up and handle everyday tasks, something they may not be able to do in a depressed state. Exercise takes away the gloom, loneliness, self-doubt, lack of energy, tension and anger that is often associated with being in a depressed state.
Helping with anxiety
Anxiety is often tied to depression but people who have anxiety, in addition to feeling low, often feel worried or tense due to the inability to keep their concerns in check. In addition, people with anxiety are often jumpy and irritable. After exercising and after the levels of dopamine and serotonin rise, people with anxiety can feel calmer and in much more control. Both of these chemicals are able to counteract the fight or flight feelings that are triggered by anxiety, which encourages perspective and removes the panic associated with anxiety.
While exercise does have a profound effect on our bodies, it can do so much for our minds and our mental well being. Exercise can help improve focus and concentration, thereby helping us be more productive. Dopamine and serotonin, both of which are released during exercise can help elevate moods, thereby helping those in a depressed state as well as those who have anxiety. The best thing about exercising is that you do not have to start at the top, you can make a plan and gradually increase your exercise level as your body permits and you endurance increases.