Exercise benefit’s us in so many ways – physically we know that exercise can improve fitness, help lower the risk of obesity, benefit our heart and prevent a range of associated health issues and diseases. However, more often than not we forget the mental and emotional benefits getting sweaty can have. Exercise releases hormones such as Serotonin and endorphins which improve mood and reduce feelings of isolation such as loneliness. Exercising regularly can even lower longer term stress levels, and has been proven to aid in the recovery of mental health such as depression or anxiety.
Getting your body moving improves circulation, including the blood flow to the brain. Improved blood flow directly benefits the Hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for memory), besides an improvement in memory the physical benefits of better circulation are strengthened nerve connections, and greater protection against injury or disease, while also helping you think more clearly.
Focussing on exercise that engages you is a great way to practice mindfulness too, escaping a busy mind and instead paying attention to how your body is feeling – your feet hitting the ground as you run for example – is a great way to break the cycle of negative thinking and help relieve those who suffer from anxiety.
If those benefits didn’t convince you, exercise is also known to improve:
- Self Esteem
- Energy level’s
- Libido and Sex drive
- Optimism and general outlook
The general recommendation is 30 minutes of exercise per day – so do your brain a favour and get moving!