Physical Activity Improves Physical and Mental Health

Intellectual heavyweight! Model brain with barbells

 

Regular physical activity can help reduce your risks for many diseases and conditions, as well as improve your overall quality of life.  The general advice is to aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day, and to minimize the amount of time in a prolonged sitting position.  The following are lists of benefits to exercise:

Physical benefits to exercise:

  • Exercise may reduce your risk of a heart attack.
  • Regular exercise helps with managing your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
  • You may strengthen your bones, muscles, and joints, and lower your risk of osteoporosis.
  • Exercising regularly gives you more energy to do more activities.
  • Exercising can improve your ability to do daily activities and lower your risk of falls.
  • Regular exercise can help keep you mobile and independent longer as you get older.

While most people focus on the physical changes and benefits gained from exercise, there are quite a few benefits to your mental health when you exercise.

Mental benefits to exercise:

  • Exercise is thought to block negative thoughts and distract people from their daily worries
  • Physical activity can be a good way to work out any anger you might be keeping in.
  • Exercising with others provides an opportunity for increased social contact.
  • Increased fitness may lift your mood and improve your sleep patterns.
  • Exercise may change levels of serotonin, endorphins and stress hormones in your brain.
  • You’re more likely to concentrate and focus better.
  • If you’re trying to kick an addictive habit, exercise can help you cope with cravings and withdrawal symptoms.