Exercise and physical fitness have manifold benefits on mental health: The exercise itself makes you feel better, and being thinner, stronger and more physically fit make you feel better about yourself.
According to a letter by three doctors in the Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, exercise can lead to a concatenation of mental and physical improvements. All these improvements reinforce the other improvements.
The doctors wrote:
Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal.
The letter by the doctors concerned mental patients, but many other experts have said adequate exercise can lead to life improvements, including:
- More interest in having sex
- Improvements in sleep patterns
- Better physical endurance
- More energy and stamina
- Relief of stress
- Improvements in mood
- Reduction in tiredness, which can lead to being more alert
- Reduction in weight
- Reduction in cholesterol
- Improved cardiovascular fitness
The doctors say mental health practitioners should tell their patients to exercise to reap the manifold benefits of exercise.
Mental benefits of exercise
First let's look at the mental benefits of exercise. There are at least five of them.
Reduces depression and anxiety
Science has proven that exercise boosts people's moods and reducing depression and anxeity, says this article at Walden University .One way exercise improves mood is by increasing endorphins or the nervous system's feel good chemicals.
"Even just moderate exercise throughout the week can improve depression and anxiety, so much so that some doctors recommend trying out an exercise regimen for these conditions before turning to medication," the article states.
This video discusses the health benefits of exercise.
Increasing your heart regularly through exercise can "reverse stress-induced brain damage by stimulating the production of neurohormones like norepinephrine, which not only improve cognition and mood but improve thinking clouded by stressful events." Exercise also requires cooperation between the body's sympathetic and central nervous systems, which can improve response to stress
Better self-esteem and self-confidence
Exercise makes your body more attractive through weight loss, increased muscle tone, and improved endurance, all of which can improve your self-esteem and thereby self-confidence. You could find yourself thinner, in clothes that fit better, and better able to climb a hill if you exercise regularly. The Walden University article says physical activity boosts the mind, spirit, and body.
Better sleep patterns
As many people who have been mentally ill know, the illness can cause troubling reductions and disruptions in sleep. Exercise increases the body's temperature, which can calm a person and lead to better sleep. Regular physical activity also helps regulate the circadian rhythm, which controls when you feel tired and when you feel alert. All that said, expert say you should not exercise right before bedtime.
A boost to the brain
The article says exercise builds intelligence and strengthens the memory. Studies of humans and animals shows that exercise creates brain cells and improves brain performance, prevents cognitive decline and memory loss. It also boosts energy and creativity.
Some physical benefits of exercise
While we've seen that exercise and physical fitness can help a person mentally, they can also give tremendous benefit for physical health. And everyone knows if you feel better physically, you feel better mentally.
In an article titled Benefits of Exercise, Medline Plus lays out everything we've said so far, plus:
Reduced risk of heart disease
Lower blood sugar
Exercise can lower blood sugar level and help insulin work better. This can reduce risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. "And if you already have one of those diseases, exercise can help you to manage it," Medline Plus says.
Strengthen muscles and bones
Supplements for physical fitness
Electrolytes are necessary for muscle movement and energy. When you exercise, run, and play sports, your body eliminates critical electrolytes through sweat. Unless replaced, your muscles may cramp, fatigue, tire, tighten up, and stop working correctly.
VALI Electrolyte Salts with Caffeine tablets prevent this by supplementing your body with salt and a caffeine boost to help you recover quickly and maintain muscle stamina during workouts and activity.
If you are caffeine-free or prefer to do without the caffeine in your supplement, VALI also has just plain Electrolyte Salts.