The frustrating thing about exercise is that many people seem to think it is optional, and when life gets too busy, too stressful, too crazy, exercise is the first thing to be abandoned as it is not a priority. The irony is that when life is too busy, too stressful, too crazy, exercise is what you need the most!
We all know that regular exercise is great for your body, but did you know that regular exercise is also extremely important for your mind and your mental wellbeing? People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. And it’s also powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges.
Ever noticed that when you are stressed, your muscles tighten up and you feel tension particularly in your back, neck and shoulders? Physical activity helps to relax your muscles and release the tension in your body.
Working on a difficult project at work and just can’t make a breakthrough? Physical activity promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energise your spirits and make you feel good. Finally, exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of restrictive thought patterns and allows new ideas to flow.
Other benefits of regular physical activity:
Sharper memory and thinking. The same endorphins that make you feel better also help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp for tasks at hand. Exercise also stimulates the growth of new brain cells and helps prevent age-related decline.
Higher self-esteem. Regular activity is an investment in your mind, body, and soul. When it becomes habit, it can foster your sense of self-worth and make you feel strong and powerful. You’ll feel better about your appearance and, by meeting even small exercise goals, you’ll feel a sense of achievement.
Better sleep. Even short bursts of exercise in the morning or afternoon can help regulate your sleep patterns. If you prefer to exercise at night, relaxing exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching can help promote sleep.
More energy. Increasing your heart rate several times a week will give you more get-up-and-go. Start off with just a few minutes of exercise a day, and increase your workout as you feel more energised.
Stronger resilience. When faced with mental or emotional challenges in life, exercise can help you cope in a healthy way, instead of resorting to alcohol, drugs, or other negative behaviors that ultimately only make your symptoms worse. Regular exercise can also help boost your immune system and reduce the impact of stress.
Being physically active can help you feel stronger and better able to do day-to-day activities. In addition to the physical benefits, being active also helps you feel better mentally and emotionally, so you have increased quality of life.