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XTEND FITNESS & WELLNESS

Stress Awareness Month: How Exercise Can Improve Your Mental Health

When it comes to a virtually instant fix for a number of ailments exercise is one of the best options at our disposal. In fact, there are a number of ways exercise can not only benefit your mood (and your fitness level), but it can also help fight anxiety, depression, and stress. With April being Stress Awareness Month, we figured there’s no time like the presence to talk more about how exercise can help a number of mental health issues. In today’s post, we’re going to cover some of the mental health benefits of exercise you don’t want to miss!

Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

You’ve probably noticed how good you feel right after finishing a workout. For many people, it provides an instant mood-boost. But what is the science behind this effect? And beyond boosting your mood, are there more long-term mental health benefits to exercise? 

Exercise and Mental Health

First, let’s look at how aerobic exercises, including swimming, dancing, or running can reduce anxiety and depression. While there are a number of studies and ideas about how exactly this works, it generally comes down to this being a result of, “blood circulation to the brain and by an influence on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and, thus, on the physiologic reactivity to stress.”

Weight training also comes with a number of mental health benefits. Most notably, this type of exercise (in fact, virtually every type of exercise) releases endorphins. Endorphins are those “feel good” chemicals that can drastically improve your mental health. 

Not to mention, exercise provides opportunities for boosting your confidence, socialization, and energy levels. Each of those are contributing factors to better mental health. 

We encourage you to take a look at this study next. It includes powerful statistics about improvements to clinical depression with just 30 minutes of treadmill walking for ten days, and a variety of other important findings. 

Start Enjoying these Benefits for Yourself

Now that we know how exercise can improve your mental health, it’s time for you to enjoy these benefits too! We know how difficult and overwhelming it can feel to get started. But the good news is there are plenty of ways to ease yourself into a more active lifestyle and start reaping all of the rewards that come with it.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Incorporate a walk into each day. The combination of fresh air and exercise can work wonders.

2. Choose on-demand classes so you can exercise from the comfort and safety of your own home.

3. Take part in group fitness classes to boost the socialization benefits of exercise. Working out in a group can also help motivate you.

4. Consider hiring a coach to help you create a sustainable plan, keep you accountable to your goals, and give you the support you need. 

Would you like to learn more about coping with stress and Stress Awareness Month? Take a look at this post.

Be sure to take a look at the nutrition and wellness services we offer, including fitness classes and online training too. We would love to partner and help you reach your physical and mental health potentials.