In our first weekend round-up I featured an article from Newsweek on the benefits of exercise in combating addiction issues. Today I want to talk about the benefits of physical exercise in combating depression, anxiety, and mental health in general.
Exercise releases endorphins, helps us to feel better about our bodies and by extension ourselves, and contributes to better sleep patterns. All of these things have a clear impact on our state of mind, our ability to control our anxiety levels, and our mood. Additionally, many exercise practices (such as yoga and martial arts) incorporate a focus on mindfulness, meditation and self discipline; making them valuable tools in our effort to get to know our own minds, find our centers, and take control of our emotions.
Even 20 minutes of exercise a week has been shown to help decrease psychological distress, with the greatest benefits being reported by those who were inactive prior to the addition of exercise into their routines.
There have been numerous studies into the ways in which exercise can contribute to good mental health. The academic community is still learning why this biological connection between brain based mood disorders and exercising our bodies exists, and we do not yet have all the answers. What we do know is that exercise can help us feel better. So go put on some sweats, get your heart pumping, sweat the tension out and start feeling better.