With 2024 around the corner—and new year, new me inching closer—is re-establishing an exercise routine on your radar? This year, give movement a different (read: more impactful) meaning. If you want to improve the quality of your life, grab your tennis shoes. Because beyond strength gains and blood sugar balance, working out also has remarkable mental health advantages. With that in mind, we’re exploring the underrated health benefits of exercise. Specifically, how it can improve your emotional well-being. Time to get moving.
The Mental Health Benefits of Working Out
This goes without saying, but exercising isn’t just good for your body. It’s also good for your mind. It can enhance your vitality and help you manage a variety of stressors. The following are just a few ways regular physical activity can affect mental health:
Improved Mood and Self-Esteem
It’s astonishing how much exercise improves happiness and self-esteem. After a strenuous workout, do you feel accomplished and satisfied? We can thank endorphins for that. These natural mood boosters can work wonders when you’re feeling low. Exercise reduces stress and improves mood. It also boosts self-confidence.
Increased Focus and Concentration
The best of both worlds, working out can increase focus and concentration in the short and long term. After a workout, it’s common to experience an immediate boost of energy (motivation to tackle a task more clearly and precisely). In the long term, regular exercise has improved memory and concentration and enhanced cognitive abilities. Unsurprisingly, work productivity is often improved after a workout.
Lower Risk of Depression and Anxiety
Did you know that exercising regularly can assist in lowering the risk of depression and anxiety? Physical activity boosts mental health and happiness by releasing endorphins. Exercise’s benefits extend beyond just the release of happy hormones, as it’s also a great way to relieve stress. A quick workout may help you relax and focus on your health when you’re anxious.
Improved Sleep Quality
When exercise is a priority, your body is in a healthier state. And, therefore, more likely to sleep better at night. Working out helps lower stress, which can improve sleep. Endorphins from exercise help you relax and prepare for sleep. Regular exercise also regulates your circadian clock, making nighttime sleep easier. Finally, exercising throughout the day can help you sleep if stress or anxiety keeps you up at night. Regular exercise improves sleep quality and mental health, energizing and refreshing you throughout the day.
Improved Cognitive Function
As mentioned, studies show that a consistent workout routine improves cognitive function—including better memory, attention, and executive function. In other words, exercise benefits your body and brain by helping you make decisions and solve difficulties. Next time you encounter a mental fog, try lacing up your sneakers and going for a short walk.
Ultimately, physical health extends far beyond appearance. It’s also an excellent approach to boost your mental health and well-being. Exercise reduces stress and boosts happiness and self-esteem. It can also support you in managing symptoms of anxiety and depression! That said, finding an enjoyable activity is key to making these mental health benefits part of your everyday life. Time to take the plunge and make 2024 your healthiest year yet.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider.