It’s common knowledge that exercise is beneficial to physical health, however, many people don’t know that exercise is as valuable for the mind as it is for the body. Discover more about the positive effects of exercise on mental health and how to stay motivated in the new year.
Physical Exercise Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Chronic stress is a common problem in modern society, and too much stress can lead to numerous physical and mental health problems.
Experts explain that increasing the heart rate through exercise can stimulate the production of norepinephrine and other neurohormones. These hormones improve mood, cognition and thoughts blurred by stress. Exercise also forces communication between the sympathetic and central nervous systems to help the body and mind overcome stress.
Exercise Helps Fight Depression and Boost Mood
Studies show exercise can reduce depression and boost mood. That’s because physical activity increases endorphin levels. Endorphins are feel-good chemicals that create moods of euphoria and happiness.
Light, medium or intense exercise can reduce the symptoms of depression and may even be as effective as medication and other treatment methods.
It Can Help Improve Sleep
A good night’s sleep is essential for mental and physical well-being. Exercise increases body temperature and regulates the circadian rhythm, allowing for a calmer mind and a healthier sleep/awake schedule. Exercising too close to bedtime could cause an energy boost, so experts recommend exercising earlier.
Exercise Boosts Brain Power
Studies show that physical exercise causes neurogenesis, the process of creating new brain cells. It can also strengthen memory, prevent cognitive decline, boost creativity and improve the brain’s overall performance. An increase in brain power can benefit numerous other areas of life, including work, school and more.
Staying Motivated in 2023 and Beyond
Keeping up with an exercise routine can be challenging. It’s easy to become sidetracked by obligations, fears and fatigue. The following are several tips for staying motivated to exercise regularly in the new year.
Vary Your Exercise Routines
Running the same loop or heading to the same gym every day can become monotonous. Varying your exercise activities in style and intensity, such as practicing yoga one day and taking a bike ride the next, can keep you on the path to success.
Get Your Friends Involved
One of the best ways to stay motivated is to exercise with friends or family members. You can hold each other accountable for showing up to exercise and encourage one another along the way.
Enlist the Help of a Coach
A qualified fitness coach will help you stay focused on your exercise goals. Personal trainers make your health and fitness their top priority whether you want to exercise more often, build muscle, lose weight or rehabilitate after an injury.
Do the Activities You Enjoy
It is essential to make exercise fun, and the best way to do that is by doing something you love. Even the physical activities of gardening and bowling are considered exercise. The more you enjoy the exercise you choose, the more often you’ll do it.
Keep Track of Progress and Reward Yourself
Charting your progress will ensure you notice your exercise improvements, large or small. Seeing advancements on paper will keep you motivated to strive for larger goals.
Reward yourself for reaching milestones, such as exercising regularly or achieving a personal record. Rewards don’t have to be large or costly. They can be as simple as taking a hot bath, blending your favorite smoothie or taking some TV time.
Learn more about the positive effects of exercise on mental health and how to stay focused on your goals in the accompanying resource.
Author bio: Dan Borucki is an ISSA Certified Fitness Coach and Personal Trainer at Re|Claim Fitness. He is committed to providing a level of service that is focused on the individual, whatever his or her needs and goals may be. Borucki strives to encourage, support and challenge his clients to feel stronger, healthier and more confident.