Our body maintains a perpetual demand for energy. From the cradle to the grave, spending energy and gaining strength are unavoidable cycles we all have to be a part of. It is also never said enough that burning calories by means of physical exertion keeps your mind and body in absolute harmony. That being said, numbers show depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses are at a record high even in the most advanced nations, which calls for the immediate need for introspection.
Increasing evidence has helped in understanding the effects of consistent workout on mental illnesses. Apart from keeping you agile, exercises tend to secrete all those right juices in our brains that deal with inducing feelings of happiness and peace. A few such perks that could help make a healthy mind are discussed here.
How does it help mental health?
If you are pondering whether a few push-ups or running a few miles could help your brain function better, you might be just right considering all the robust research confirming the same. Our brains need a systematic creation of neurons that ensure the supply of oxygen and nutrients. Increasing brain volume is directly related to neuronal health by virtue of neuron growth, signaling, and connections. A sound mind is an indicator of a healthy hippocampus. It is that part of the brain that deals with memory, emotional control, and learning. Mental well-being is assessed on the basis of hippocampal neuron creation. Many antidepressants are known to do this job of neurogenesis. Memory storage efficiency is increased multiple folds when neurogenesis is induced while exercising or any activity that ensures a healthy mind.
Experts believe that regular exercise is equivalent to pharmacological interventions while treating mental health conditions. By balancing daily lives with a moderate fitness schedule, cognitive issues in illnesses like schizophrenia are reduced. Exercises are also deemed as a perfect therapy for reducing the risk of mild anxiety or dementia. Enthusiasm to try new ways of physical work, which could even be the good old jogging or your favorite sport, could induce endorphins and enkephalins, which are known to help us feel good or happy and also, in many instances, make problems seem manageable. By keeping your mind and body busy, attention is diverted from intrusive thoughts that could otherwise trigger unwarranted anxiety due to inactiveness or overthinking. Most mental health illnesses are due to a certain degree of cognitive inflexibility that tends to shut our creative senses, which will if it sustains for long, lead to sticking to unhealthy habits of negative thought processes and so forth.
Inactivity can rise from various choices like idling away time indoors or losing interest in sports or outdoor activities. Once this becomes the norm, our reception of new things can be impaired, even when an initiative is to be taken while handling solutions or changes in our lives. It can, therefore, be inferred that activity can do just the opposite for a healthier living.
Exercises and Mental Illnesses
Working out is a popular choice for treating mild to moderate depression instead of depending on antidepressants. Research has shown that daily running or devoting time to daily exercise can drastically reduce extreme depression risks. The most prominent effects include increased brain activity, better neuron creation, and lower inflammation. The sense of being part of a new activity brings about a sense of calm in people diagnosed with chronic depression.
Anxiety needs to be dealt with an equal measure of wholesome counseling and the reiteration of the truth that much of the overthinking is extrapolating our fears. Such negative thoughts call for any activity that can serve as an escape. What better option than fitness? The constant monitoring of breathing and a mindful outlook towards exercising can negate the ill-effects of anxiety and its known symptoms. Muscle relaxation is another factor that is important in the treatment of stress. Once you have a feeling of agility, endorphin release can involuntarily reduce muscle stress, improve your mood, and impetus to try and face issues without fear.
ADHD is another mental illness that requires holistic methods to bring the person out of his misplaced focus zone. By cultivating a habit of physical work, secretion of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin ensures that our brain can regain focus and attention. Exercising is a proven method of sharpening our concentration and memory.
PTSD and moderate trauma symptoms can be treated by trying outdoor sports or activities like swimming, hiking, trekking, or cycling. Any activity that entails cross movement of arms and legs is known to relax our tense, nervous system which provides a much-needed relaxation. Paying close attention to the sensation of movement or stretching of muscles can help the mind unwind from any repetitive revisiting of traumatic incidents. Even though such escapes could be for a short while, catering to our bodily needs for activity is paramount to the well-being of a person.
How much exercise?
Psychiatrists usually suggest three or more resistance training sessions or aerobics, which could range from 45 to 60 minutes during each session. Benefits are known to be seen only after three weeks, which is the usual time span for the effects of neurogenesis to surface.
It is not mandatory that exercises have to result in extreme exhaustion or body shape changes. Brisk walking or moderate cycling everyday in a different area can avoid giving up too soon or shying away from monotony. Researchers stress on the importance of daily exercise but not quite on extreme fitness regimes. Basically, you do not have to suffer immensely to have results.
From an objective point of view, skepticism is common when exercise is correlated with mental health improvement. Any exercise can be rewarding to the body, which helps our dopamine receptors secrete in natural amounts. This sensitivity has always shown an exponential improvement of mood and outlook towards life.
Exercising has always been a wholesome and viable therapy with regards to balancing our external and internal changes in both mind and body. In other words, it might be time for you to look towards choosing your own comfortable exercise and start reaping its benefits. So, in order to know more about the mental health benefits of exercise or to get a mental health treatment using TMS therapy, do contact us at Riverview Psychiatric Center.