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Wellness of Mind and Body through the Benefits of Exercise

In the last ten years, scientists looked into how exercising can enhance brain function. No matter the person’s age or fitness level, research shows that making time for exercise offers some important mental advantages.

Below are six ways regular exercise can help cognition and your overall sense of well-being:

Stress Relief
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Stress relief is one of the most popular benefits of exercise. Working up a sweat is helpful in managingboth physical and mental stress. It also increases your body’s supply of norepinephrine, a chemical that can regulate your brain’s stress response. So if you ever feel like mental tension is getting the better of you, get up and start moving out there.
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Increased Production of Happy Hormones

Slogging through a few miles on your treadmill can be such a challenge, but it’s definitely worth the effort! As you’ve likely heard before, endorphins or happy hormones are released when you exercise. Based on studies, exercise can even calm symptoms of clinically depressed individuals. Because of this, doctors recommend gym time for anyone suffering from depression or anxiety as long as long as they are physically capable. There are cases in which exercise proves to be just as effective as antidepressant medication.

It’s okay if you’re not the gym rat type — getting a happy boost from working out for just half an hour a few times weekly can instantly boost your overall mood.

Self-Confidence Boost

Get on the treadmill and start looking and feeling like a million dollars. At the core, physical fitness can improve self-esteem and promote a positive self-image. Whatever your age, gender, size or weight, exercise can fast elevate your feelings of self-worth.
Loving the Great Outdoors

Exercising in the great outdoors can boost your self-esteem even more. Do some research and find an outdoor workout that matches your style, whether it’s hiking or jogging in the park or rock-climbing and so on. The Vitamin D you get from all that sun (please wear your sunscreen!) can keep those depressive symptoms at bay.

Maintaining Cognitive Ability

It’s not nice, but it’s true — as we age, our brains get a little less sharp. Even as exercise and a healthy diet are no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, they can help combat cognitive decline, which generally starts after a person turns 45. In individuals with ages 25 to 45, exercise increases the levels of certain chemicals in the brain that stop the degeneration of the hippocampus, that part of the brain responsible for memory and learning.

Anxiety Alleviation

Lastly, here’s a bit of Q & A: which is better in terms of relieving anxiety — a warm bubble bath or a jog with your dog? The answer might surprise you. Those warm and fuzzy chemicals produced by your body when you exercise and even after, can help you feel calmer and more relaxed. Who says exercise is just good for physical health?