Exercise is Vital to Your Health, Physically and Mentally

Everyone knows that incorporating exercise into a regular routine is essential in maintaining adequate physical health. In fact, the Center for Disease Control urges all adults to engage in at least seventy-five minutes of vigorous aerobic activity and two days of muscle-strengthening per week. The physical benefits of exercise are seemingly endless. Those who exercise regularly are at a decreased risk for a long list of health problems including: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, and even cancer. However, many people seem to overlook the additional benefits of regular exercise. That is, the effects that exercise can have on an individual’s mental health.
Regular exercise can be extremely beneficial for your brain. One benefit, alertness and judgment, has been observed in individuals exercising at least three days per week. Additionally, exercise has been shown to increase confidence by helping individuals to accomplish goals. Not to mention that personal appearance tends to benefit from an exercise regimen, which in turn can often lead to additional self confidence. Exercise also tends to be an activity that takes place in a group setting. The additional interaction with others tends to make people feel more engaged and can be beneficial to mental health.
Perhaps most important, is the potential for exercise to decrease the incidence of depression. Exercise, although intense, often provides for a time of relaxation. Furthermore, physical activity is correlated with the release and inhibition of certain chemicals which affect the brain. For example, dopamine and serotonin have major implications on individual’s mental health and are directly influenced by levels of exercise. Next time you go for a run or head to the gym, be proud about taking the steps to better your physical and mental health.