Regular exercise doesn’t only benefit you physically, but can also benefit you mentally. Studies show that regular physical activities can help improve mood, concentration and memory, help mitigate symptoms of ADHD, eating, personality and bipolar disorders, as well as reduce anxiety and depression.
For those who dread exercise the good news is it doesn’t take a lot to give you big brain benefits. Physical activity, like walking or even moderate housework, an estimated 30-60 minutes a day, three to five days a week is enough to perk up those little grey cells and get your endorphins and serotonin going. More strenuous, structured exercise like working out, bike riding, and swimming add even more benefits, like releasing proteins that help your brain make new, neural connections, to enhance your wellbeing.
Regular exercise has many psychological and emotional benefits, too. It can help you:
- Gain confidence. Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance.
- Get more social interaction. Exercise and physical activity may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighborhood can help your mood.
- Cope in a healthy way. Doing something positive to manage depression or anxiety is a healthy coping strategy. Trying to feel better by drinking alcohol, dwelling on how you feel, or hoping depression or anxiety will go away on its own can lead to worsening symptoms.
It’s more important than ever to practice self-care. Spending just 20 minutes a day 5-7 days a week simply walking is a great and inexpensive way to give yourself a mental boost, calm anxiety, relieve depression, and start on the right path to improving your wellness journey.
Interested in more ways to improve your overall health and lifestyle? Talk to one of the registered dietitians on our Psych Nutrition team about how diet can affect your mood, and help with symptoms of depression, anxiety, and ADHD.