Everyone hears how exercising can be good for your health: it can reduce risk of diseases, such as cancer or cardiovascular disease, strengthen muscles and joints, assist with chronic pain, and so much more. But, when it comes to mental health, how does exercise have an effect on it?
Well, as it turns out, exercise has been shown to very clearly benefit mental health. According to numerous studies done by the CDC, exercise, depending on the intensity of it, has been found to reduce levels of depression and anxiety due to the release of endorphins, commonly referred to as “feel-good hormones.” This chemical is actually a peptide that helps reduce an individual’s perception of pain and being active releases the endorphin, endogenous cannabinoids, along with other brain chemicals like serotonin that can boost an individual’s mood. According to a study conducted by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the risk for major depression was reduced by 26% for those who ran for 15 minutes or walked an hour a day, further displaying the effectiveness of a little activity.
Being active also promotes brain activity, neural changes, and more that spread feelings of calmness throughout an individual. This helps reduce stress, especially as people have their minds taken off any negative or anxiety-filled train of thoughts. Additionally, physical activity is shown to relieve tension and relax muscles, further aiding to reduce stress in an individual.
So, if you’re ever feeling like you’re in a slump, sometimes going out and getting active can help! Motivation can be hard to find, but even walking outside for a short period of time can prove to be beneficial in the long run.
Author: Ellen Zulkarnain
Ellen Zulkarnain is an 18-year-old student at Irvington High School, who is super passionate about mental health and helping others. She has volunteered at a local kitten shelter and tutored children with special needs. She excitedly wishes to expand her service to the mental health industry by contributing to this blog. In her spare time, she loves putting together puzzles, playing with her dog, Mars, and spending time with her friends. We hope you enjoy her contributions.