5 ways that exercise helps your mind

30 Nov 2022 06:00AM by Desta Smith - Pilates Activist

Virgin Active

By now, we all know that exercise does more for our bodies than make physical changes. It’s a great way to help balance your mind, whether you’re having a difficult day or just wanting to keep your emotional health in check.

We caught up with our Pilates Activist Desta to find out more about how exercise helps your mind... 

Exercise improves your mood

Perhaps the most well-known mental benefits of exercise is that it boosts your mood. No matter how hard it might be to find the motivation to keep active, afterwards you’re riding that endorphin high. Endorphins are those feel-good chemicals that bring on feelings of happiness. 

Exercise reduces stress

As well as boosting your mood, exercise has been proven to reduce stress. Research has shown that active adults are generally less stressed than their less active counterparts. This isn’t just because of the endorphins that exercise releases but also because it produces neurohormones. These neurohormones improve your mood and help you to think clearer. 

Exercise increases brain function

Similarly, exercise has also been shown to improve brain functioning. That’s because cardio workouts help the brain make new neurons which creates new brain cells. This helps the brain map new pathways for communication and can help to fight conditions like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

Exercise helps us get better sleep

It’s not just the number of hours of sleep we get each night that counts. It’s also the quality of the sleep too. Various studies have shown that exercise has a positive effect on sleep patterns, helping those who are restless before bed fall asleep quicker and wake up less often during the night. That’s because exercise promotes our bodies to produce a chemical called adenosine which makes your body feel ready to sleep. It’s why, after a long day of being active or after a particularly challenging gym session, you feel ready for bed. 

Exercise boosts your self-confidence

When you start moving regularly, you’ll start to feel and see the benefits. Whether that’s lifting heavier, taking fewer breaks or having more energy when you’re not in the gym. Alongside getting better sleep and reducing your stress, you’ll generally feel more positive in yourself.

Have you felt any of these benefits? What motivates you to keep active?

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