Losing weight and improving cardiovascular health may top your list of reasons to exercise. But did you know that being physically active has a number of emotional and mental benefits as well?
Whether you are running, doing yoga, or lifting weights, moving your body on a regular basis can help you feel great in more ways than one.
Some of the emotional health benefits of exercise include:
• Reduced stress and mental fatigue
• Less anxiety
• Greater energy
• Better sleep
• Positive self-image
Stress Less, Relax More
Research on anxiety and depression shows that exercise can help you relax, boost your confidence and improve your mood, in addition to the physical benefits of an active lifestyle. Exercise makes you feel less tension by reducing levels of the body’s stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline.
Put a smile on your face
Working up a sweat with a run or a calorie-burning Zumba workout can also help put a smile on your face. Exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, also known as “happy” chemicals. Endorphins are neurotransmitters in your brain that induce feelings of euphoria and act as the body’s natural painkillers.
Adding exercise into your daily routine will help increase your sense of pride and build back your self-esteem over time. Shedding those extra pounds and noting your body’s newfound strength and stamina can encourage a positive “can-do” attitude to tackle all areas of your life with a sense of optimism.
Exercising should be fun and tailored to who you are! Take a kickboxing class with your friends. Go hiking on a nearby trail with your partner. Swim a few laps at a pool with your kids. Choose something that gets your heart pumping and that you enjoy doing to make it easier to be consistent.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity) for adults. Children 2 and older should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activities every day that are age-appropriate and fun to help keep them healthy and engaged.