Physical exercise helps keep us in shape and physically healthy in general, but there is a little-known fact that it also helps in keeping our mind healthy. Mental health has become a major topic of discussion these days. It is no secret that millennials are the most affected when it comes to mental health issues but it is by no means limited to them.
So how does physical exercise influence mental health? Multiple research organisations, through their work, have established that mental health and emotional well being are better in people who exercise regularly. Exercising regularly reduces risk of developing mental illness and also treats illness’ like depression and anxiety.
Mild or moderate depression can be cured by regular physical exercise. Reports show that such exercises are highly effective, working on par with anti-depressant medication. This not only improves mental health but also avoids the risks of side effects that come hand in hand with anti-depressants.
It is so evident that some call it the most effective way of fighting depression. This is due to the changes that take place in your brain when you exercise. This promotes neural growth, release of endorphins and reduced inflammation, all the while increasing the feelings of calm and well-being.
It is my belief (not the experts) that physical exercise is the best anti-anxiety treatment out there. Although it is my belief, mental health researches back my claim, calling it the most effective treatment out there. The release of endorphins again helps the cause. But more importantly, exercises get you moving. This in turn halts the flow of thought that causes anxiety in the first place.
Stress, perhaps, is the most evident mental health issue. It has effects on the body that are evident. The muscles will tense leaving you with pain on your neck and back or splitting headaches will just stop you in your tracks, ultimately creating yet more stress.
This is a dangerous cycle which can go on and on if not treated and the way to break out of it is, you guessed it, exercise. It helps you to relax those tense muscle while endorphins help to relieve the mood and since the two of them are intertwined, the better your body feels, so does your mind.
PTSD and Trauma
PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress disorder is a mental illness usually found in veterans of war. It is an illness that is caused due to the horrific and traumatic incidents experienced by individuals. PTSD or trauma results in the nervous system being stuck in a cycle of immobilized stress response.
People suffering from such an illness are agitated and place less trust in others. Exercises can help the nervous system move out of such a state allowing the patients to get over the trauma that rattles their minds.