MENTAL HEALTH & EXERCISE
Exercise influences the brain’s development and function, leading to better memory and learning. As a result, regular physical activity lowers the risk of developing cognitive impairment, such as dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, exercise has been found to improve mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and improving self-esteem and cognitive function.
Exercise has been found to improve our mental health. Benefits of exercise include improved sleep, better endurance, stress relief, improvement in mood, increased energy, and weight reduction. Each of these benefits has an impact on our daily mental health.
Exercise modulates the secretion of major neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which are linked with treating depression. When you exercise, your body releases these chemicals (dopamine and other endorphins) in your brain that make you feel happy. Exercise also rids of stressful and anxiety-producing chemicals. Indirectly, exercise improves mood and sleep and reduces stress and anxiety.
Exercising increases heart rate, supplying blood flow to the brain. Increased heart rate increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients supplied to our blood and brain.
Ways to get started with exercise:
Find a workout you enjoy - a workout that is best for someone else may not be best for you! Workouts can be done anywhere, at any time, and in many ways. Common workouts include dancing, bike riding, running, swimming, and walking. When you enjoy what you are doing, it is not a burden! It would help if you looked forward to your daily exercise as it relaxes your mind and body.
Change up your workout! It is easy to give up at the start if you don’t like a workout right away, but it is important to stay motivated to try new things. Keep yourself on your toes and change your routine, so you do not lose interest in maintaining a healthy lifestyle! Go outside, stay inside, try a class, or work out on your own!
Make time for exercise! Prioritize your workout and set a plan for yourself based on what your body wants and needs.
Take your time! Gradually add more exercise to your lifestyle and weed out what you like and dislike. You do not need to dive into a 7-day-a-week exercise routine. Instead, stray from stress and burnout by slowly increasing your workouts.
Set goals! Stay motivated by encouraging yourself to continue this new lifestyle. Set both short-term and long-term goals to remain excited about your target achievements. This also helps us to be accountable for our exercise habits.
Ask a friend to join you! This can help with accountability and add fun to your exercise routine.
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