Developing and maintaining an exercise routine can be difficult, however, exercise offers a myriad of benefits for both body and mind, making it a habit you don’t want to miss.

The physical benefits of exercise are well known, but many people don’t realize the amazing mental health benefits that exercise has to offer. Exercise is a proactive way to reduce and even eliminate mental health problems such as stress and anxiety. Learn more about the many benefits of exercise for mental health here.


Exercise Against Depression

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 8.4 percent of adults in the United States have experienced at least one episode of major depression. Research shows that all levels of physical activity, from mild to severe, can reduce the severity of depression. In some cases, exercise can be just as effective as other, more common methods of treating depression, such as medication or talk therapy.


Relieve Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are common mental health problems for Americans. The American Psychological Association states that stress is a major health problem in the United States, with about 33 percent of Americans living with extreme stress.

Research has shown that exercise releases endorphins, hormones that improve mood while relieving pain and decreasing stress. Physical activity reduces the stress hormone cortisol. Exercise can also distract you from negative emotions and thoughts.

Physical activity can also improve the body’s response to stress or stressful events. A 2014 study linked regular exercise with superior emotional resilience to stress. This means that exercise can help you deal with future stress in addition to the stress you are facing now.


Increase Self-Esteem

Exercise offers both physical and mental health benefits, and all these benefits are interrelated. The physical benefits of exercise, including increase muscle strength, lose weight and create a healthy glow, can increase self-esteem.

With regular exercise, you will see improvements in pain tolerance, superior cardiovascular fitness, and increased muscle strength. This increase develops a sense of mastery and self-confidence.


Exercise and PTSD

Many people associate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with military veterans, but PTSD affects people of all ages, nationalities, cultures, and backgrounds. It affects about 3.5 percent of US adults each year.

Research shows that exercise can benefit people with PTSD by improving sleep and cardiovascular health while reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. Physical activity can also reduce anxiety and anxiety and relieve some people from panic attacks.


Other Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

The physical and mental benefits of exercise are numerous. Research also shows that exercise can help with memory loss and addiction control. It can promote better sleep, increase energy, and increase motivation. Physical activity is even linked to better cognitive function, such as increased focus and critical thinking skills.

You may notice some of the above mental health benefits immediately after exercising. Other benefits become apparent when you develop healthy exercise habits. Creating an exercise routine that you can do at home or on the go can be the ticket to improving your mental health and overall well-being.

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Author bio: Dan Borucki is an ISSA Certified Fitness Coach and Personal Trainer at Re|Claim Fitness. He is committed to providing a level of service that is focused on the individual, whatever his or her needs and goals may be. Borucki strives to encourage, support and challenge his clients to feel stronger, healthier and more confident.


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