We’re 1 week into our 28-day Bump Up Feb fitness challenge, and we hope you’re crushing it with us and feeling good!
Why is it that exercise can make us feel so good? Well, we know that sometimes it doesn’t feel so good… BUT when you get in a rhythm and get a great workout in, those endorphin rushes can seriously lift your spirits. But can it make you more mentally fit in the long term? The answer is yes.
Now the physical benefits of exercise are always pretty clear cut: building muscle tone and definition, healthy weight maintenance, and feeling stronger in your everyday activities. But we’ve also talked a lot about how a fitness routine is more than just a physical workout, it’s a mental one, too.
And since it’s a mental workout as well – there are lasting psychological benefits we can get from regular exercise. So, if you’re struggling with your fitness motivation right now, or need some encouragement to keep pushing through, here are the top 5 ways exercise can actually boost your mental fitness.
5 Ways Exercise Boosts Your Mental Fitness
- Natural mood boost: It has been shown that regular exercise can treat depression as effectively as most anti-depression medications. How so? Exercise releases endorphins (the feel-good hormone) and spikes brain activity that can distract you from negative thought patterns – helping your mind recover faster and more effectively.
- Reduce anxiety: Exercise acts as a natural muscle relaxant, which can release pent up tension in areas such as your neck and shoulders – where many people hold stress. Reducing this tension can actually lessen feelings of anxiety that we associate with manifested physical stress.
- Sleep better: Insomnia affects about 1 in 3 people, and even if the effect is minor it can have major consequences for your mental health. Exercise is a natural and effective way to defeat those nights lying awake in bed. The more active you stay throughout the day, the better you’ll be able to sleep at night.
- Improve your focus: Another surprising benefit is that exercise has a huge effect on the efficacy of your memory and concentration skills. The release of hormones such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, all play a part in retaining information and improving focus.
- Benefit your long-term mental health: Unfortunately as we age, our cognitive abilities begin to lessen, and can accelerate into more serious issues such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. However there are ways in which one can reduce our likelihood of developing these diseases; exercise is one of them. Keeping our blood-flow strong and regulating the release of key hormones such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin keeps your mind active and helps to ward off potential illness.
Remember – exercise can come in many different forms. You don’t have to set out to run over 5 miles a day or lift weights for hours on end to get your blood pumping.
Start small and try simpler forms of exercise to get your heart rate up: give your garden a good tending to, or take the dog for a nice extended walk, or dance around in your living room with your kids or partner. And join our Bump Up Feb Challenge, if you haven’t already!
Make a point to stay as active as possible every single day, and enjoy all of the benefits – physical and mental.
Want more fitness tips and exercises for a healthy pregnancy and fourth trimester ? Check out our free ios app!