Exercise is not only about aerobic capacity and muscle size. Exercise can also improve your physical health and your physique, improve your sex life, trim your waistline, and even add years to your life. However, that’s not what motivates most people to stay active.
People who regularly exercise tend to do so as it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They can feel more energetic throughout the day, have sharper memories, sleep better at night, and feel more relaxed and positive about life. Moreover, it is powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges.
Regular exercise can have a positive impact on depression, ADHD, anxiety, and more. It also improves memory, relieves stress, helps you sleep better, and boosts your whole mood. And you don’t need to be a fitness fanatic in order to reap the benefits. Research shows that modest amounts of exercise can make a difference.
Exercise and depression
Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression effectively like antidepressant medication. For example, a recent study of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes or walking for an hour per day can help in reducing the risk of major depression by 26 percent. Besides relieving depression symptoms, research also shows that maintaining an regular exercise schedule can prevent you from relapsing.
Exercise is a powerful depression fighter for a lot of reasons. Particularly, it promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including reduced inflammation, neural growth, and new activity patterns which promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases powerful chemicals, endorphins, in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel better. In addition, exercise can serve as a distraction, which allows you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.