Regular exercise of any kind, whether it’s low-impact or strenuous, has always been recommended by physicians and professionals in order to guarantee the highest standard of physical health for patients. However, with the recent growth of mental health awareness and the destigmatization of discussing mental wellness, professionals in the field have begun to share the benefits that exercise can have on mental health as well.
Physical health and exercise are obviously connected, but did you know about the strong connection between physical and mental fitness and health? It is much more prevalent than you may think, and the benefits that regular physical activity have on mental health are outstanding.
According to the American Psychological Association, “regular activity can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.” It’s no secret that physical activity increases your levels of brain chemicals that promote positive emotions and feelings. These chemicals include endorphins and serotonin, both of which result in pleasurable sensations and are incredibly effective in raising overall mood.
Because of these “happy chemicals”, routine exercise is said to lower both short-term and long-term symptoms of depression and anxiety after very little time. Additionally, in the short term, these chemicals work very quickly to positively affect your mood in as few as five minutes while you are exercising.
Physical wellness is related not only to exercise, but to diet as well! Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet that is nutrient-rich and clean can alleviate negative physical symptoms of mental health issues, as well as provide similar results in terms of endorphins and serotonin that exercise provides. Eating poorly can aggravate symptoms of mental illness, such as fatigue and slower thinking, and it can even be a direct cause of depressive symptoms. So, this other adjustment to your physical wellness can also greatly impact your mental wellness.
Both exercise and an improved diet in unison can greatly improve symptoms of mood disorders such as depression. Sugars and other processed foods can be a go-to when feeling depressed or stressed, but these foods can actually worsen these symptoms and trap you in a cycle. Of course, it may be difficult to get started with exercise and diet changes when you experience difficulty because of mental health issues, but taking the first step is the hardest part—after you do that, it will be easier to get on the path toward a better physical, and furthermore mental, state.
Developing a healthy diet and exercise regimen for both your physical and mental wellbeing can also be easy with the help of your clinician. Trust the experts at Marion Direct Primary Care to help you on your path to wellness today!