We all know that sports and exercise are good for your body. This truth has been told to us time and time again by our teachers, parents, and many others. Physical activity toughens you up and prepares you for the unexpected hardships that life may throw your way.
One of the more overlooked aspects of physical activity and its effect on human beings is the way it affects our mental health. As it turns out, the benefits of exercise are not only limited to your body, but they’re also an immense help in establishing the right frame of mind and improving your self-esteem.
If you’re having a bad day or a longer period when you’re feeling down and want to improve your state of mind, exercise is the way to go. Anyone can get up and move, regardless of whether you’re an avid golfer with a pair of fancy skechers golf shoes or a broke college student with your feet and an old pair of running shoes as the only sporting equipment you own. Any kind of activity helps.
For additional motivation, keep reading to find out how exactly physical activity can make you feel better and help you get out of an emotional rut.
What Does Science Say?
Of course, anyone can just go on the internet and write up a bunch of articles to help prove their point. However, the science behind numerous physical activity benefits on people’s mental health is actually quite strong. Some of the latest research shows that people who exercise frequently report “fewer days of poor mental health”, as opposed to those who don’t. That same study also shows more significant improvements in emotional states of those whose activities of choice were team sports, although cycling and gym workouts were not far behind. That may be explained by the added factor of interacting with peers alongside the physical component.
Even though the connection between exercising regularly and mental health benefits has been scientifically proven, there are a couple of undesirable effects you should be aware of. People who throw themselves into intense, long training sessions as a means of coping with addiction or in search of a better way to take the edge off might report even more mental burdens than before.
So there you have it — exercise helps you feel better and can improve your perception of yourself and the world around you. If you do it with other people and make it into a social activity as well, it can work wonders for your self-worth and help reduce anxiety. As with everything in life, though, moderation is key. You can’t go off the deep end and turn sports into your second job. It might reduce the emotional benefits and turn exercise into another source of stress.
How Does Physical Activity Affect Your Mood?
There are plenty of palpable improvements that exercise will bring to your life. It helps improve nearly all of the facets of your mental health.
If you’re simply having a bad day and need a quick pick-me-up, reconsider opening up that beer can and go for a short run instead. Getting your blood pumping and your body moving releases endorphins that will make you feel happier and less anxious. On top of all that, a good workout in the evening will put you to sleep better than a cup of hot milk with honey.
The mental and emotional benefits of exercise aren’t limited to mild cases. Depression is one of the more severe conditions where even the bare minimum of physical activity can help. It can be as simple as taking a long walk every afternoon or meeting up with friends for a football game every couple of days. It will help you take your mind off the dark thoughts and bring more sunshine into your life.
Finally, sports have been immense in improving people’s feelings of self-worth and building up self-esteem. The way it works is pretty straightforward — the more physical activity you engage in, the more improvements you’ll start seeing in your body. You’ll be stronger and more energetic, meaning that you’ll be able to do more things and perform better in all areas of life. That alone can go a long way in getting you to feel better about yourself.
Healthy Body = Healthy Mind
The health benefits of exercise are paramount and cannot be overlooked by anyone who wants to lead a better life. Sports will reinvigorate your body, as well as your mind. Aside from pushing away negative emotions, exercise makes your brain sharper than ever. You’ll perform better at work, and if you’re still a student, it will help you achieve stellar results at school.
Many of the more common, yet debilitating problems prevalent in our society can also be eased with exercise. Conditions such as health anxiety, stress related to a lengthy job search, and various other ailments are all issues that a good amount of exercise can reduce, or even completely remove from your life. It’s pretty straightforward — the better you start feeling in regard to your physical health, the less intimidating all of your other problems will become.
This article was kindly written and contributed by Harper Stanbridge