Physical & Mental Health: 4 Ways they Go Hand in Hand

As the significance of mental well-being begins to be recognised as equal to our physical well-being, you may ask yourself “how do I keep my mind healthy?” It’s been drummed into our brains since we can remember that exercise and healthy eating play important roles in our keeping fit. But as we are beginning to discover, the benefits of exercise on our brains are just as good as they are on our bodies! Read on for Physical & Mental Health: 4 Ways they Go Hand in Hand!

1. Exercise is Proven to Reduce Stress, Anxiety & Depression

As we all know, exercise increases blood-flow around your body, which is incredibly beneficial to your heart and organs. As an organ, your brain gains from the same increased blood-flow, as it allows areas of your brain to be better stimulated. As the blood flows around your brain, the parts of it that deal with stress, motivation and mood become more capable of dealing with these things more effectively. Such activity can prevent the onset of anxious or depressive thoughts, as well as your brain being better ably equipped to deal with them when they come.

2. Exercise Improves Sleep which Improves Mental Performance

It is well known that as adults we should be getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night to be able to function effectively the next day. Sleep is the time for your brain and body to rejuvenate from the physical and mental activities of that day. After a HIIT or a hard training session, your body naturally experiences physical exhaustion which allows you to access sleep more easily. Our brain needs to rest just as much as, if not more so, than our body does!

3. Self-Care Makes You Feel & Look Your Best

A more common reason people start to exercise is to lose weight, but looking fit does not necessarily equate to feeling fit. It is often said that happiness comes from inside you, and cannot be attained through external improvements alone. As exercise helps your brain become more motivated and stress-free, you may naturally begin to feel a self-assurance that comes from within.

What’s more, increased activity may stimulate desire for social interactions that improve our confidence and serve as distractions from negative thoughts. While you will naturally lose weight from exercising, your resulting mental well-being is also a very valid reason to do it!

4. Exercise Generates Energy which Enables You to Fulfil Your Goals

Do you ever feel sluggish and drained, despite having done barely anything at all? This is because of a lack of blood-flow around your brain and your body. Contrary to popular opinion, we feel more tired from doing less than if we were to move around more!

While physical exertion will eventually contribute to our tiredness at the end of the day, the blood pumping around your brain and your body after a workout increases your mental and physical stamina, overall health and removes tiredness. Over time, you will gain energy not just from the endorphins that exercise helps secrete, but as your physical stamina develops, you’ll tap a natural reserve of energy to burn throughout the day.

Your brain is programmed to perform complex motor movements, and when it is unable to do this, as is very common in our sedentary society, it begins to shut down. Both your brain and your body will thank exercise for improved sleep, stress relief and improvement in mood. The health benefits from regular exercise should be encouraged by every mental health professional to their patients, as the attainment of body positivity comes from a place of mental positivity first, it doesn’t come from the body, but rather through it!

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