The Connection Between Physical Activity & Mental Health

Participating in regular exercise is important for more than just keeping your body fit and trim. In fact, physical activity is essential for both your physical and mental health. Here are some reasons why:

Stress Reduction

Physical activity in almost any form can help you destress and protect you from anxiety. Exercise boosts the production of endorphins, which are the neurotransmitters responsible for making you feel good. Exercise enthusiasts refer to the joy they feel from getting a runner’s high, they are referring to the feelings of happiness they experience due to the release of endorphins.

Alleviating Depression

Regular exercise helps improve your mood and self-confidence while reducing symptoms associated with depression. Suffering from depression can slow your ability to process information, concentrate, make decisions and remember things. Physical activity can help alleviate these symptoms because it increases the production of serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin and dopamine are essential neurotransmitters for feeling good. Dopamine is responsible for feelings related to love, happiness, pleasure and motivation while serotonin assists with regulating mood, impulse, passion, memory and irritability. Antidepressants can help increase these neurotransmitters. This is why it is so important to exercise if you are feeling sad.

Improving Memory and Cognition

According to this Harvard Health Publication from Harvard Medical School, regular exercise helps alter the brain to improve memory. How is this possible? Exercise helps to reduce insulin resistance, minimize inflammation and encourage the release of chemicals in the brain that positively impact its health.Numerous studies have found that the area of the brain responsible for thinking and memory is larger for people who participate in regular exercise.

Controlling Addictions

As previously described, exercise releases dopamine, which is commonly referred to as the “reward chemical.” The release of this brain chemical occurs in response to any form of pleasure, which may include participating in exercise or consuming drugs, alcohol or food. Because dopamine makes people feel good, it isn’t that uncommon to become addicted to the substances that produce it. On a more positive note, because exercise (in moderation) is a non-toxic way to help produce dopamine, it can help those recovering from addiction. This is because periods of exercise help distract addicts, which aids in helping them forget about their cravings.

Feeling More Energized

If you suffer from brain fog during the day, get up and move! Exercising helps send oxygen and nutrients to all of your tissues, which allows your cardiovascular system to work more effectively. As a result of your body working more efficiently, you will experience more energy throughout your day.

There is a strong correlation between physical activity and mental health. Exercise is the best thing you can do for your mind, body, and soul. So, what are you waiting for? Come on down to the Redwood Club and start a regular exercise routine today!

If interested in joining a fitness club in or around Petaluma, California, stop into the Redwood Club!