Training: Mental health benefits
The mental health benefits of exercise

It’s a well-known fact that getting outside and exercising is good for our bodies, but it’s becoming clearer just how much it can also boost your mental health.

Whether it’s a gentle stroll with a friend, training for a run or going for a family bike ride, heading outdoors can give you a new perspective and much-needed change of scene, not to mention a healthy boost of vitamin D!

Below are even more reasons to lace up your trainers…

Reducing stress

One of the best methods of reducing stress is walking, which is largely down to the calming effect of doing some rhythmic exercise. In fact, if you have the option to walk by water, this can be especially soothing, so perhaps try and take a walk along the seafront or along a river.

The physiological effects of walking, reducing blood pressure and increasing your heart rate, can also reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Studies have even shown that people who regularly exercise have more grey matter in their prefrontal cortex, which controls stress management.

Improving your mood and reducing symptoms of depression

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommends that people with mild to moderate depression should exercise for 45-60 minutes at least three times a week.

Exercise can help release tension and stress and by getting out of your head and focussing on your body, you will be able to think clearer and refocus.

Improve self-esteem

Simply being more active can make you feel better about yourself and your self-esteem will be given a boost as you improve and meet your goals.

Meeting new people

If you sign up to a team sport or join an exercise group, it is the chance to meet like-minded people and make new friends. This will improve your confidence, not to mention the fact that having friends can provide us with comfort, encouragement and support. 

A better night’s sleep

Physical exercise can help you not only sleep longer, but can improve your quality of sleep, by contributing to the amount of time spent in deep sleep.  The deep sleep phase is the most physically restorative sleep phase and helps boost immune function, support cardiac health and control anxiety and stress.

Just be careful to avoid too much exercise too close to bedtime, or you will still be feeling stimulated and energised!




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