Keeping fit, managing your weight, and warding off disease are all side-effects of exercise.
But did you know getting physical can do wonders for your mental health too?
Though it may seem impossible sometimes, exercise is one of the best ways to deal with stress and even mental illnesses.
Physical activity alters brain chemistry and leads to feelings of wellbeing.
Endorphins (neurotransmitters) are produced in the brain and that reduces pain and make us feel alive, strong and energized.
Exercise is a potent mood booster that assists with many of the symptoms associated with high prevalence disorders such as depression by increasing appetite, promoting natural sleep cycles, improving mood, and by building strength and a sense of achievement that supports self-esteem. It wards against negativity, fear, worry, anger and tension.
Researchers say over the long haul, regular physical activity is a better at controlling depression symptoms, than any psychotherapy or medication.
The actual activity also distracts the sufferer from focusing on negative thoughts, and is believed to enhance a person’s sense of control over their lives.
The great news is, you don’t need to spend seven days a week in the gym to notice a difference in your moods.
Researchers have found that a brisk 30-minute walk three time a week, can be just as effective in relieving major depression as antidepressant drugs.
Even smaller amounts of activity – as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time – have been shown to improve mood in the short term.
When we’re psychologically depressed, we’re behaviourally depressed.
The more we withdraw, the less we do, and that depresses us even more until we find it impossible to break free of the vicious cycle.
The simple antidote: Be more active.