How Physical Exercise Helps Your Mental Health

By Julia Bauer
People running

Mental health is just as important as physical health. If you’re struggling with your mental health – whether it’s due to anxiety about a major life-change or the stress of everyday tasks – physical exercise may help improve your mental health and how you’re feeling. 

While routine physical exercise helps with weight management, reduces your likeliness of cardiovascular disease and strengthens your muscles, the benefits of exercise go beyond just physical, according to the CDC

Here are 5 ways physical exercise helps your mental health:

1. It eases symptoms of anxiety

According to Mayo Clinic, although the link between exercise and anxiety isn’t “entirely clear,” physical activity can ease symptoms. Exercise of any kind allows you to think of things other than your worries; it also helps you momentarily break away from negative-thought cycles that encourage anxiety.

2.It helps with depressed mood

Like anxiety, physical exercise can reduce symptoms of depression and improve your mood. According to Mayo Clinic, regular exercise releases “feel-good endorphins” and other naturally occurring brain chemicals that make you feel better. 

3. It reduces stress

The endorphins from exercise also help reduce stress. According to Mayo Clinic, exercise is an outlet for stress relief. It is a healthy way to release built-up emotions while improving your mood and helping you relax. 

4. It builds confidence

If you exercise regularly and set goals for yourself, you can gain confidence. According to Mayo Clinic, meeting your exercise goals and getting through challenging activities can boost your self-confidence. Whether your goal is a small as getting one more rep of bicep curls or as big as increasing your bench press weight by 20 pounds, making progress toward your goals will increase your self-esteem. 

5. It improves quality of life

Because regular exercise improves not only your physical health but also your mental health, your quality of life as a whole will improve. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, physically active adults are likely to “report having a better quality of life.” 

If you’re looking for a way to improve your mental health, start participating in routine physical exercise. Anything from daily walks to weight training can put your mind at ease and elevate your outlook on life.

Reach out to your doctor if you feel like you need help with symptoms of depression or anxiety. 

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