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5 Reasons Your Mind Loves Exercise

5 Reasons Your Mind Loves Exercise

Our culture glorifies being thin and fit. While exercise can certainly give you a boost in that department, there’s more to a workout than meets the eye. Here’s a look at some of the less-discussed benefits of physical activity:

Good Vibes

Do you feel happier after a workout? It’s not just a coincidence. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals in the brain known as endorphins. This means people who engage in exercise regularly find it easier to stay consistent with a routine because over time the brain and body start to crave this feeling of wellbeing. That’s why regular exercisers sometimes feel out of sorts when they’re off schedule. 

In addition to better wellbeing, exercise can help people struggling with mental health. Health psychologist and author Kelly McGonigal stated, “So many people who struggle with anxiety, grief or depression find a kind of relief in being active in nature that they don’t find any other way.” She cited an NIH study offering hope to clinically depressed people who exercise outdoors. The research found that adding mountain hiking to a subject’s existing medical treatment led to positive shifts in mood and outlook. 

Social Connection

Regardless of our age, fitness level, or socioeconomic status, regular movement can make us feel like we’re part of something larger than ourselves. Friends who sweat together stay together.

Productivity

Big deadline at work? Research shows that people who exercise regularly are more productive. During a busy day, a workout can provide a much-needed break and a source of rejuvenation. That’s because exercise can clear the mind and even spur creativity.

Better Sleep

Experts tell us that 30 minutes of moderate cardio is enough to improve sleep quality and even decrease insomnia in some patients. Just consider timing. Some people find it harder to wind down after exerting themselves because their brain and body are activated from the workout. That’s why many people prefer to work out in the morning. 

Elevated Energy Levels

It can be a vicious cycle. You’re too tired to work out, but you feel more tired when you don’t exercise. What gives? Exercise can boost energy levels in healthy people and help those coping with various medical conditions. For example, one study found that six weeks of regular exercise reduced feelings of fatigue in a cohort of 36 healthy people.

The bottom line? Exercise does the body and mind a world of good. The benefits of exercise are more than just your physical appearance.

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