The Link Between Physical and Mental Health
The link between your physical wellness and your mental health is undeniable. Their direct correlation affects your daily life in so many important ways that you may not even consider. It’s so easy to view exercise as just something you do to maintain a healthy weight or good heart health. The truth is that the mental benefits of exercise are just as important as the physical ones. Here are FIVE ways that exercise affects your mental health.
Improved Cognition & Memory
The chemical benefits of exercise in your brain cannot be underestimated. We are talking about HUGE boosts in cognition and memory that can mean the difference between a healthy brain and a declining brain. Cardiovascular exercise literally creates new brain cells making your brain stronger and more healthy. These brain cells and the strengthening of your hippocampus create improved memory and better cognitive speed. This is an amazing piece of information to know at any age, but particularly if you are middle age or beyond when cognitive decline can set in.
Better Self Esteem
When you commit to a regular exercise routine, you are sure to see some physical aesthetic improvements. Your clothes may fit better, you might drop a few pounds, tone up a part of your body that you were insecure about, or improve your posture. Whatever it may be, those changes in the mirror can also change the way you feel about yourself.
This improved self confidence can lead to you making better choices in your life and for your future. When you look good, you feel good and that is reflected in your decisions. Confidence can help you seek opportunities, take risks, and reach out to connect to those around you. You are also more likely to hold yourself to your own commitments and trust your own decisions, leading to a great cyclical side effect of building further self esteem. The best thing is that any of these outcomes is going to lead you to the path of prosperity.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, also known as the “happy juice,” into your brain. This chemical produces feelings of euphoria and happiness, making you more optimistic. This chemical benefit also helps stave off depression and aids you in maintaining stable moods. Even just taking a walk a few times a week can help. If you journal regularly, start keeping track of your moods. You are sure to see a correlation between positive moods and your exercise schedule.
When you move more, you sleep better. Simple, right? If you struggle with falling asleep, consider adding or modifying a regular exercise routine. Cardiovascular exercise helps regulate your circadian rhythm, the internal clock in your body that tells you when it’s time for some shuteye. You will feel tired when it is time to be tired. Anyone who has ever had trouble falling asleep will tell you that that is a valuable thing!
Decreased Stress Response
Aerobic exercise is an amazing way to improve your vagal tone, the product of the nerve in your body that regulates blood pressure and the anxiety response to stress. When you have a strengthened vagal tone, you are able to think more clearly under pressure and maintain more stable nervous system function like heart rate and blood pressure. You may find yourself in a stressful situation, but with a healthy vagal tone due to regular exercise, you will be able to handle it with grace and clarity.
We hope this information about the direct correlation between your mental and physical health helps you make enlightened choices about your habits. When you feel better both mentally and physically, you are able to better overcome all the challenges that come your way.