Modern life, mainly in big cities, has been generating a life system in which we can solve a large part of our needs from our homes or from our workplaces, without having to move from one place to another to get food, communicate or have fun. So, how then do we enjoy the benefits of exercise on our mental health?
The media, internet, and service companies supply us with everything we need, solving many of our immediate needs without having to move from our seats.
Although these benefits seem to make life easier for us, they do not necessarily make us happier and clearly do not make us healthier.
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The body that houses us and its state of physical well-being is inextricably linked to all the functioning of the body, and physical activity has become very important in understanding the emergence of new diseases and the change in the epidemiological profile of diseases.
Physical exercise is good for our health, and I am sure you know that exercising regularly, also has beneficial effects on our mental health.
It seems obvious that physical activity makes us have a better prepared body for movement and day-to-day efforts, along with helping us maintain a better weight.
Physical activity has also been shown to help alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, especially through relaxation exercises such as yoga, but also through aerobic exercises such as running and swimming that help you fall asleep soundly at night.
• Aerobic exercise and increased muscular activity favours neuroendocrine mechanisms that generate a feeling of relief, energy, and pleasure. Internal substances are released that promote mental activity, improve mood, and calm anxiety. In the same light, the elongation, deep breathing, muscle strength, and cardiovascular efforts do harmonise the body and mind.
• Physical activity helps us distract ourselves from problems and favours states of mental silence, fun, joy, or satisfaction. It improves the connection with the immediate “here and now,” freeing us from the burden of problems that, as we know, never end. It separates us from day-to-day concerns, shifting the focus of our attention, and producing relief.
• Physical activity, done regularly, leads us to discover body capacities and improves our self-esteem. By feeling more satisfied and seeing the result of the effort made, it motivates us to continue exercising and it becomes a source of gratification. It can help us improve our physical appearance and the gratification with it.
• Regular exercise helps improve physiological sleep. The importance of regular and systematic exercise has become so important that it is considered part of the treatment of some mental and emotional illnesses.
In mild and moderate depressive symptoms, performing regular physical exercises favours mental recovery, allowing in cases of less intensity, to dispense with the use of drugs. Exercise should be performed three times a week for periods of 45 to 60 minutes, for 10 to 12 weeks, as recommended by the professionals.
The effect of exercise in improving irrigation and the development of nerve endings has been associated with protective effects of mental deterioration, so it is recommended to transform it into a permanent habit, even in advanced ages.
It should not be forgotten that any physical activity, especially for those who are starting for the first time, must be associated with a general medical evaluation and a program adapted to the capacities and risk factors of each one. Fortunately, there are multiple alternatives for physical activity, even for people with injuries or limited physical capacity. The important thing is to find one and a get good advice.
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