How An Active Lifestyle Can Improve Mood
It’s safe to say everyone struggles with mental health from time to time, whether it’s general depression and anxiety, stress-related issues from the everyday, or trauma of some degree—we’ve all been there. However, there is strong evidence that a healthy, active lifestyle can have positive effects on mental health. Heart Zones is a huge advocate for keeping active, and staying active so that people can benefit from a positive relationship between exercise and mental health. But, exactly how does exercise improve mood? Let’s dive in.
Generally, experts say that regular exercise boosts well-being, energy and productivity, promotes healthier sleeping habits, improves memory, and increases feelings of relaxation and positivity overall. And naturally, experiencing any number of these benefits proves that exercise and mood are related—who wouldn’t feel good if they were sleeping better and had more energy? The science behind exercise and mental health is really simple. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins and produces excess adrenaline that metabolizes, helping the nervous system calm down, therefore relieving symptoms related to anxiety and depression—it’s what we like to call the true antidepressant.
According to the New Life Foundation, there are three important areas where exercise is known to provide benefits including self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. However, exercise and mental health can stretch beyond these issues and have positive impacts on stress, trauma, and conditions like ADHD and dementia. For example, studies have shown that there is around 20-30% lower risk of developing depression and dementia for adults who live active lifestyles. If you are struggling with a specific mental health condition, and looking for exercise and mood boosting activities, we’re ready to help you connect your head and your heart.
In an article called “Exercise and Mental Health” published in the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, experts explain that aerobic exercises are thought to cause an increase in circulation to the brain, and positively impact physiological stress stemming from a variety of issues.
Exercise And Depression
Studies have revealed that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression just as effectively as antidepressant medicines (minus the negative side effects). Additionally, research has proven that developing an exercise routine and schedule can help those who struggle with depression to avoid relapse. When asking yourself how does exercise improve mood, and what exercises can I do to overcome symptoms of depression, we recommend running or jogging for 15-20 minutes, or walking for about an hour a day—it can be a welcomed distraction that keeps your mind off of things, and it gets your heart pumping. Looking for another healthy distraction? Motivate yourself to get moving by tracking personalized fitness data with a Heart Zones wearable. It’s an easy way to focus on your fitness, and distract from your depression.
Exercise And Anxiety
When exercising with anxiety, it’s key to focus on the sensations that your body experiences while moving, like the rhythm of your breathing or your feet hitting the ground. Mindful exercise can lead to faster improvements in your physical condition and can interrupt a racing mind—but, we only hate the word racing when it refers to your mind! Heart Zones recommends aerobic exercises like jogging, biking, or walking to improve physical and mental energy so that you can experience the benefits from a relationship between exercise and mood.
Exercise And Stress
Experiencing stress can be…stressful. It can cause tension in your muscles, face, neck, and back, and can cause fatigue, rapid heart beat, and tightness in the chest. Other issues can include asthma, diarrhea, and heartburn. However, you can relieve stress with any exercise that you enjoy, relieving tension in the body and mind. When your body feels better, so does your mind. Let’s make the burn in your heart a good one with some heart-pumping exercise!
Exercise And Trauma
How does exercise improve mood irregularities related to trauma? The reality is exercise can help your nervous system move beyond the immobilizing stress response that defines PTSD and other traumas. Engaging in any activity that involves cross movement of your arms and legs are best—any outdoor activities like hiking, rafting, kayaking, and skiing can also reduce the effects of trauma. Paying attention to the sensations you feel as you workout will improve your exercise and mental health relationship.
After exercising, people usually feel a boost of confidence, a sense of well-being, and an improved mood—so it’s very easy to relate exercise and mental health. If you’re just starting to implement workouts into your lifestyle, just keep in mind that something is better than nothing. Start by incorporating small increments of exercise, then slowly increase your time, speed, and dedication to your new regiment—it’s important to keep challenging yourself as you get more comfortable! Interested in setting personalized fitness goals based on your current fitness level? Discover Heart Zones patented zone training methodology and cutting-edge technology that helps you keep track, and stay on track as you meet unique milestones.