What Are the Benefits?
Exercise has a long list of benefits, but when it comes to your mental health the benefits go beyond simply making you feel good. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration(SAMHSA), eating a healthy diet, avoiding the use of drugs and alcohol and getting regular exercise can reduce stress and anxiety. Simple activities, such as taking a walk, stretching, and deep breathing can help alleviate stress.
Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression and even act as an effective antidepressant medication, without the side-effects. Exercise promotes many changes to your brain, such as neural growth, reduces inflammation, and new activity patterns promote feelings of calmness because when you exercise you release endorphins, which make you feel good.
Exercise can also distract you from your everyday worries and make you feel happy. It relieves tension and stress, boosts mental and physical energy, switching your focus away from your anxiety. Even patients with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) have benefited from exercise. Focusing on your body and how it feels when you exercise can help your nervous system away from the immobilization stress that comes with PTSD.
Other mental and emotional benefits of exercise include a sharper memory and thinking, higher self-esteem, better sleep, more energy, and stronger resilience when you are faced with mental or emotional challenges.
So get moving if you suffer from mental illness! For more information visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at www.SAMHSA.gov.