The most common fitness goals are to reach a certain weight, look a certain way, or become stronger. All of these are the physical benefits of working out, but what about the mental benefits of exercising? Mental health and wellness should be one of our main fitness goals. You should be working just as hard towards a healthier mental state as you are towards your physical appearance.
Here are some of the main benefits for your mental health when you create a regular workout routine.
Serotonin Boosts: We hear the word serotonin being thrown around a lot when it comes to exercise, but what does it mean? The common belief around serotonin is that it’s a chemical released into your brain that causes a boost of happiness. But, in reality, its actual function is a natural mood stabilizer. Serotonin aids in sleeping, eating, and digestion, which means when your serotonin levels are normal you’ll be overall happier, calmer, more focused, and less anxious. It also has some major physical health benefits associated with it. Some ways to create a natural serotonin boost are exercise, meditation, a healthy diet, and sunshine!
Increased Energy: When your heart rate increases and your blood starts pumping, endorphins get released into the brain, causing an increase in energy level and stamina. This is especially true with cardiovascular exercise.
Brain Health & Memory Aid: Exercise encourages growth, not just with our muscles but with new blood vessels in the brain. There have also been studies that show the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory are larger in volume in people who exercise than in people who don't. Exercise can also boost memory and thinking skills by helping your sleep patterns and reducing anxiety.
Sleep Patterns: Exercise can increase sleep quality for adults by reducing the time it takes to fall asleep – and decrease the amount of time they lie awake in bed during the night. Exercise has even been proven to be as effective as prescription sleep medicines.
Decrease Stress and Anxiety: A regular fitness routine can also relieve life's daily stress and anxiety, working out daily frustrations and focusing on your health is a great way to combat anxiety. As we mentioned, when you exercise, your brain releases serotonin and endorphins, also known as "feel good" chemicals. It's the brain's natural stress reliever.
These are just a few of the many mental health benefits of exercising. A regular workout routine can also increase self-esteem, aid in relaxation, decrease your risk of depression, combat sleep apnea for a better night's sleep, and so much more. Exercising gives you energy throughout the day but it’s also a great way to relax. One of the most relaxing exercises that can help melt your stress and worries away is yoga. It gets the blood pumping to release your “feel good” chemicals while also giving you the “me time” you so greatly deserve.
Check out our free 21 Day Yoga Guide to start your journey towards a healthier body AND mind.