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How Exercise Can Improve Our Mental Health

woman smiling as she stretches at exercise bar

Here are some of the ways in which physical activity can have mental health benefits.

While most of us associate exercise with physical health benefits, many of us forget that it can have mental health benefits as well.  Here are some of the mental health benefits associated with exercise.

  • Reduced Symptoms of Depression

Studies have shown that exercise maybe just as effective as antidepressant medication when treating cases of moderate depression.  This is because exercise encourages neural growth, which may contribute to feelings of wellbeing, and releases endorphins (chemicals in our brains that make ushappy).  Additionally, exercise mayalso distract us from the cycle of negative thoughts that contribute to feelings of depression.

  • Improved Focus

As previously mentioned, exercising releases endorphins in our brains.  While this chemical is touted as helping to make us feel good and increase feelings of happiness, it can also improve our ability to focus and think critically.  Additionally, physical activity also promotes the growth of new brain cells which also may assist in preserving and improving our mental acuity, especially in older individuals.

  • Reduced Stress

Exercise is also a great way to relieve tension and help us de-stress.  For instance, when we focus all our mental energy on pushing ourselves physically, it’s likely that we will not dwell on the stressors that are plaguing us.  This mental reprieve may help us alleviate feelings of stress and can help us put our worries into perspective.  Oftentimes, distracting ourselves from our concerns allows us to come back and re-evaluate them with fresh eyes.  This, in turn, helps us come up with better, more well-thought-out solutions.

Join us at The Maria Sanchez Show as we enjoy the mental benefits of exercise.  Don’t forget to check out our latest program, Shadow Politics with Senator Michael D. Brown. Tune in on Sundays at 4:00 p.m. PDT/7:00 p.m. EDT.

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