Beyond the Feel-Good Factor: Exercise and Mental Health

According to Psychology Today “You almost certainly already know that an inactive lifestyle contributes to chronic miseries such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and an earlier death. You may also be one of the third of us who’ve recently resolved to exercise more.

But how often do you consider the contribution of physical exercise to your mental health?

Rates of depression and anxiety are at their highest recorded levels in countries as diverse as India, China, the U.S., and the UK. Undoubtedly, many aspects of “modern life” — increasing social isolation, poor diets, a focus on money and image — contribute to this state. However, inactivity is another key factor.

Most of us find that a sunny walk or trip to the gym improves our mood in the short term. Exercise is well known to stimulate the body to produce endorphins and enkephalins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones which can make problems seem more manageable. The simple act of focusing on exercise can give us a break from current concerns and damaging self-talk. Further, depending on the activity, people may benefit from calming exercises, be energized, and get outside or interact with others, all of which are known to improve mood and general health.” Read the full article here.