How Can Exercise Benefit Your Mental Health?

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Adrenaline and jogging
This runner feels better mentally after she's finished her workout.

The benefits of exercise are very well known. It can help you get fitter and have a healthier body, but what effect can it have on your mind and mental health? There is a very important relationship between the two, and anyone wanting to improve their mental health should consider fitness. You should also consider exercise and fitness whatever your current state of mind, as there are so many benefits. So, how can exercise benefit you? And what kind of effects can you expect to see? Read on to see how you can change your life by making a few healthy choices each week, and when you put in the effort you can receive great rewards.

Building New Relationships

There are many individual exercises and activities you can do, whether it be a relaxing swim in the pool or spending some time alone with your thoughts. But exercise often brings with it the chance to build new relationships with people. Joining a gym, sports team or fitness class can be a great way to spend time with others.

Forging new relationships that are built on something positive like fitness often fills people with positivity. Having other people rely on you and being needed within your group also gives people a sense of purpose and lets them know that they are needed and valued. Exercise highlights these relationships with others and celebrates them.

Adrenaline and jogging
This runner feels better mentally after she’s finished her workout.

Endorphins

Exercise releases adrenaline and a rush of endorphins, which gives us a sense of contentment, happiness, and well-being when we have work out hard. These positive feelings can have a great effect on anxiety and depression, and exercise often has an amazing effect on a person’s recovery.

Although no mental illnesses can be cured overnight, learning ways to cope and deal with your thoughts and symptoms in a healthy way is a useful tool to possess. Remember, if you do need more than exercise, make sure you consider therapy. When you put your mind, body, and soul into something, your body rewards you for it with an amazing sense of accomplishment.

Pride

Another important aspect of exercise and fitness is the sense of pride that it makes you feel. Fitness goals and accomplishments come in all shapes and sizes, such as being able to jog non-stop for 10 minutes, swim 3000 meters, or simply to get out of bed in the morning.

Every goal is individual and working hard for something then achieving it can evoke an incredible sense of pride and self-worth. Having that extra bit of self-confidence and pride can make anyone feel great and can be especially helpful when struggling with your mental health during and post rehab or in another difficult time.

There are so many more reasons to exercise than simply to stay fit, although that is a good enough reason in itself. It can have incredible effects on your mental health; it can relax you, help you build new relationships, and instill a sense of self-worth.

58 COMMENTS

  1. Exercise allows one’s mind to wander and think of a myriad of things which takes away from the stresses. In The Philippines I have started hiking and have been building a pretty big network of friends who I assume I will bump into on rocky crags from time to time which is nice, it makes me feel part of the furniture. Having said that I don’t recommend hiking in 36 degree temperatures.

  2. So true! 😍 Beautiful post! I love to do yoga or go swimming or surfing with friends. It’s so good for your health and especially your mental health. I feel way more relaxed and less anxious

  3. Love this post and it’s so true!!! Somedays I almost crave to go for a walk or do some sort of excercise! I always feel so much better, even if its just walking! πŸ™‚

  4. So true! I walk, use the pool at our health club, do Pilates, and do some weight training. I always feel energized and ready for anything after doing some exercise.

  5. I absolutely agree with all the points you mentioned, it bring a great mood change after one sweats out! I also have read it helps boost self confidence which is great!

  6. Such an amazing article! I think exercise is so important to a healthy lifestyle and it does effect your mental health, even if it’s just a walk around the block, it does make you feel better.

  7. Thanks, Christy. Great post. Exercising has long-term benefits, but I must say that in my case, I try to exercise in the morning and it gets my day started on a good note. And going for a walk tend to work for inspiration also.

  8. Christy, this is so true and it doesn’t take as much time as people think. Gaining self confidence is important as well as the health aspects!. Excellent article thank you!

  9. I like to ride my bicycle,I like to ride my bike…I bike to work & everywhere else I can too…. As my back & legs are getting worse I tend to plod on rather than ride hard like I used to do bout 3months ago…..I love off road more than on tarmac but I guess going downhill fast is more of a stupid mentality thing for me but I do feel good after a hard off road session….Bring on the surgery & watch this space 😳

  10. Excellent post Christy and I do think too weather plays a part in this as exercise in the fresh air with some sunshine also boosts Vitamin D levels and having stared out at lashing rain from my treadmill this winter I felt better for sure, but am enjoying being outside now so much more.

    • I’m pleased you are able to find ways to exercise throughout the year, including the treadmill indoors when it’s raining out. I’ve gone running in the rain and splashed in a huge puddle! Well, it’s a learning experience πŸ˜‰

  11. It is so true! It just makes you feel better altogether! For me, it is a good release of energy. I just recently switched to a job where I work behind a computer and it definitely is tiring. I need that extra physical push in my daily routine! πŸ™‚ Thank’s for the article!

    • I hope you get that physical push you need this weekend or another time soon πŸ™‚ Have a great rest of your day!

  12. It definitely helps it’s just the motivation that seems to stop me. I’ve had periods when I’ve got regular exercise and it just makes you so much more productive in other areas.

    • Great to hear and keep up the exercise πŸ™‚ Mentally recharging on a run or another form of fitness is a great way to make the most of our days.

  13. Love this! I’ve recently started the Couch to 5K challenge and have already seen a massive shift in my mental health. Being a bit under the weather the last week kept me away from the gym and again I can see how much of an impact it’s been having on my general mood – it’s no surprise that it’s dipped at the same time as this (very rude) cold came along! Particularly liked the point about self-confidence – I don’t think it’s emphasises enough to take pride in even what’s deemed the smallest achievements. Thank you! πŸ™‚

  14. Couldn’t agree more. I’m Bipolar 1. For 6 years I couldn’t exercise due to a back injury. That seems fixed now so two months ago I took up running. It was great. Unfortunately gave myself shin splints so while I recover from that I’ll turn to other exercise. As for relationships a friend has come forward to help build a regime and avoid future injuries. I find it all really helps reduce anxiety levels. (John)

    • Hi John, I am glad you have both friendship and exercise (and a combination of the two) to help you be in a healthier place xx

  15. I just wrote a post on this yesterday! Mental health and exercise are so linked. It’s not selfish to take the time to take care of yourself…it allows me to be my best self for my family, husband, and friends ❀️

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