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The Mental Benefit of Exercise

You already know that exercise is good for the body. But did you know that it's also effective in dealing with depression, anxiety, stress, and more?

Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication—but without the side-effects, of course. As one example, a recent study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%. In addition to relieving depression symptoms, research also shows that maintaining an exercise schedule can prevent you from relapsing.

Other Mental and Emotional Benefits of Exercise:

Sharper Memory and Thinking

  • The same endorphins that make you feel better also help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp for tasks at hand. Exercise also stimulates the growth of new brain cells and helps prevent age-related decline.

Higher Self-Esteem

  • Regular activity is an investment in your mind, body, and soul. When it becomes habit, it can foster your sense of self-worth and make you feel strong and powerful. You'll feel better about your appearance and by meeting even small exercise goals, you'll feel a sense of achievement.

Better Sleep

  • Even short bursts of exercise in the morning or afternoon can help regulate your sleep patterns. If you prefer to exercise at night, relaxing exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching can help promote sleep.

More Energy

  • Increasing your heart rate several times a week will give you more get-up-and-go. Start off with just a few minutes of exercise per day, and increase your workouts as you feel more energized.

Stronger Resilience

  • When faced with mental or emotional challenges in life, exercise can help you cope in a healthy way, instead of resorting to alcohol, drugs, or other negative behaviors that ultimately only make your symptoms worse. Regular exercise can also help boost your immune system and reduce the impact of stress.

Go out there and start working towards a healthier body and mind!

Author: Dena B.

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