Exercise and Mental Health

The physical benefits of exercise are indisputable. No matter what your age, you need to get up and moving in order to ensure maintenance of current health and prevention of disease in later years. However, exercise is also a very valuable tool when it comes to helping people battling mental health issues.

As someone who frequents their local gym regularly, you are no doubt already aware of the power of endorphins. Those “feel-good” chemicals that give you that natural high after your workout are one of the things that encourage you to keep going. That is also true for people with issues like anxiety and depression. The endorphins improve their mood, which acts as a supplement to any talk or drug therapy they are receiving.

Exercise also acts as a form of connection. Think about all the friends and mentors you have met over the years at the gym, people that you probably would not have encountered otherwise. Many people with mental health problems tend to isolate themselves due to reasons of shame and fear. That severely limits the possibilities they have for meeting new people and even maintaining old friendships. Even if they do not join a gym, exercise is a way to encourage them to leave their homes and do things. That leads to the mental benefits and also opens up the possibility of spending time with other people and gaining the cathartic effects one gets from such encounters.

Regular physical activity can also have other benefits for people in this category. Exercise is more likely to result in a person having a good night’s sleep. A lot of people with depression and anxiety often suffer from uneven sleep or even outright insomnia.

Individuals suffering from anxiety tend to also have considerable muscle tension, which can lead to headaches and physical pain. Exercise helps to loosen and relax muscles which in turn reduces such symptoms and leads to less anxiety.