Some days we feel like we are drowning in our problems and getting out of bed is just too hard. When these feelings persist, it can be a sign of depression or other mental health issues. As a society, we are finally opening up about mental health issues. Studies show that 1 in 4 adults have experienced some kind of mental health problems within the past year.
It is important to understand that there isn’t just one kind of mental health issue, which why it is hard to understand the problems and struggles that others go through.
Research has shown that reduced physical activity can sometimes cause depression, anxiety, and lead to poor memory. Exactly how and what type of physical activity should one do for mental health isn’t important.
Movement of any kind helps improve your mental well-being. The mind is influenced by the body’s moods, emotions, and reactions to stresses in life. Exercise works wonders for people suffering from mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, or stress, by increasing the levels of the feel-good hormones and reducing stress.
However, in more serious depression cases, exercise should be coupled with therapy and a modern procedure called ketamine infusion, which is a medically recognized way of reducing depression.
There are many ketamine infusion centers in the country, but the ketamine infusion cost in Chicago is especially lower than the rest of the centers providing the same treatment.
Does Exercise Make You Feel Better Mentally?
Yes. A meta-analysis by the Cochrane Collaboration looked at 23 studies and found that, overall, aerobic activity can help reduce symptoms of depression. In another study, researchers followed up with hospital patients diagnosed with depression and found that among them those who exercised regularly experienced improvements in their depression similar to those on antidepressants.
While these results sound promising, researchers need to conduct further studies with larger group of participants to confirm these results.
How Much Exercise Do I Need to Improve My Mental Health?
When it comes to working out, try to keep your sessions challenging and intense. Exercising for an hour or more a day is a good amount of healthy activity that will keep your mental health resilient.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also suggests performing muscle-strengthening activities two days a week. Two times a week is enough exercise to produce modest improvements in mood and self-esteem, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).
Here are a few ways exercise helps significantly improve your mental health:
Exercise Improves Our Sleep
Sleep deprivation can often lead to depression and anxiety. Exercise is a great way to help get you into a routine that allows for better sleep at night.
For exercise to help you sleep better, you need to work out at the same time each day. Once you have made exercise part of your daily routine, you will start noticing positive changes in your sleeping patterns.
You will notice that falling asleep becomes easier. You no longer wake up in the middle of the night and sleep for longer periods.
Exercise Improves Your Self-Confidence
Many people who struggle with self-esteem issues find that as they start exercising more often, their self-confidence increases. This is because any effort put in against resistance helps the body become active. The body, thus, exerts more effort in order to overcome the artificial resistance created by the exercise. We feel good about ourselves when we overcome any sort of resistance in our lives.
Exercise Alleviates Anxiety
Exercise helps in the release of endorphins—a feel-good hormone—that is responsible for alleviating stress and anxiety.
Endorphins are brain chemicals that trigger positive feelings in the body. They’re also responsible for inducing the “runner’s high,” the euphoric feeling often talked about by runners.
The runner’s high is linked to an increase in endorphins circulating through the body. The way exercise increases endorphin levels isn’t fully understood, but it may be related to the increase in heart rate and oxygen intake during exercise.
Exercise Improves Mood
Movement is fun and it makes you feel good. Did you know that the “feel-good” sensation is actually a result of the natural high experienced after exercise? When you exercise, your body releases dopamine—a chemical in the brain that helps us feel pleasure and happiness.
Exercise Can Help You Manage Stress
In addition to inducing happy feelings and mood, exercise can help you manage stress throughout the day. The rush of dopamine that makes you feel happy after a workout is also a distraction from your day-to-day worries, which makes you resilient in the face of your problems.
Working out also helps you exercise greater self-control when it comes to choosing healthy food options. If you worked out in the morning, you will not only have more energy throughout the day but also make conscious choices when it comes to your food choices.
Most of us think of exercise only as a physical activity, however, its mental health benefits prove that we shouldn’t take such a narrow view of its potential. Working out for only two days of the week can help us sleep better and longer, improves our moods, makes us more resilient, and alleviates stress, anxiety and depression.