Do you remember that time when you tried to imitate Usain Bolt to catch a bus or when you raced against your sibling to get to the remote first? Do you remember the grin that just did not seem to subside right after? That was not because of getting on the bus or snatching the remote. It was because of the endorphins rushing through your body. Endorphins are hormones secreted by the nervous system and pituitary gland that reduces the transmission of pain signals and produces a feeling of euphoria.
Even if you don’t exercise, you would have seen that sudden bursts of activity seems to put you in a good mood. Your mind or rather your mood has a direct connection to how you feel physically. When you are hungry or fatigued, you will be in a foul mood (Remember the Snickers ad featuring Urmila Matondkar and Rekha). When you are emotionally stressed, you tend to feel tired. The body and mind are intrinsically bonded.
Unlike physical fitness, mental fitness is harder to achieve because a lot of factors affect your mood that does not include your body. Stress from work, family and relationships tend to cause more mental distress than an unfit body. Even though the effect of such stressors cannot be completely removed, they can be managed. One sure fire way is to exercise.
How does exercise help in reducing stress ?
Helps release pent-up stress factors
If you are stressed at work, a quick way to dissipate it would be to take a 5 minute walk or even a jog. Sports activities like swimming, cricket, boxing can also help relieve stress by taking your mind off the problem and exercising your body enough to increase the flow of endorphins and adrenaline.
Exercising helps you keep fit and gives you a better body image. This will directly help in increasing your confidence. What people feel about themselves is a great indicator of their mental health. When people are happy about themselves, they tend to live a happier life.
Encourages healthy decisions
Exercising gives best results when aided with the right diet and lifestyle choices. This leads to a healthy body which directly leads to a healthy mind. When you remove smoking, drinking and junk food out of the equation of your life, you will see many positive changes in your body.
When you stick to an exercise routine rigorously, you automatically tend to align the rest of the day to fit a particular schedule. When you are able to organize your life better, you are more confident of managing stress factors. Thus, you are mentally more prepared for whatever comes your way.
Gives a sense of accomplishment
Exercising is a meaningful activity that helps people, especially though who are depressed, return to an activity that is part of a schedule. Since exercising is a task, you find sense of accomplishment when you pass a certain threshold or achieve a goal you had been working towards.
Many researchers are even looking at exercise as a tool to prevent anxiety and depression. Many studies are being conducted on this very subject. Suffice to say, exercising the right way can lead to better mental health.