By: @coreflexpilates founder Chris Bardawil
Most of us know about the physical benefits of exercise: improved posture, weight management, increased energy, looking stronger...but what about the psychological benefits of exercise? Here are five key benefits your mental health will get from regular exercise.
Better Sleep: Exercise can help regulate our circadian rhythm which is our body's internal clock that influences when we feel tired and when we feel alert. Beware though while exercising improves sleep quality, experts don't suggest any vigorous exercise too close to bedtime. Physical exercise also helps regulate body temperature which means you’ll sleep better throughout the night.
Brain Boost: Studies on mice and humans have shown that cardiovascular exercise specifically can create new brain cells (neurogenesis) which improves overall brain performance. Studies also show that physical activity can increase creativity and mental energy, so if you're in need of some inspiration your next big idea could be a jog or a workout away.
Improved Self Esteem: Lifting weights and cardiovascular activity combined can drastically change your body's appearance, and while exercise has so many benefits, looking better is often a major motivator for working out. From looking stronger and more muscular to clothes fitting better, the physical effects of exercise can lead to improved confidence and general wellbeing.
Lowering Stress: Exercise has been shown time and time again to decrease stress levels - which we could all use. By increasing your heart rate through exercise you reverse stress-induced brain damage by stimulating the release of neurohormones like norepinephrine which will improve your clarity of thinking and performance during stressful situations. Basically, allowing your body to handle stressful situations better.
Help Depression and Anxiety: Physical activity amps up endorphin levels known as your body's “feel good” hormones which produce feelings of happiness and euphoria as well as giving a general sense of wellbeing. These levels stay elevated long after you exercise and will give you a better outlook and perspective on things throughout the day.