Staying Healthy and Happy-7 Mental Benefits of Exercise
We all get it that exercise is good for us. We hear it from our doctors all the time. And everywhere we look there are ads, videos, and infomercials featuring folks with tanned and toned bodies designed to remind us of the ample physical benefits of being active. Unfortunately, what is often overlooked by the media is that a routine of regular exercise can be hugely beneficial to our brains as well as our bodies. With that thought in mind, here’s a look at 7 mental benefits of exercise.
Along with improving physical strength and stamina, regular exercise—especially aerobic exercise lasting at least 30 minutes—helps to relieve stress. This benefit seems to be mediated through the release of endorphins and other brain chemicals that have been shown to exhibit a calming effect upon the mind and central nervous system. In addition, a growing body of evidence suggests that the application of aromatherapy essential oils or aromatherapy massage oil can be of benefit in prolonging stress relief after exercise.
Enhanced clarity of thought:
If you’ve been turning to multiple cups of coffee or so-called “energy boosters in a bottle” to put some focus and concentration in your day, it’s time to get up and get moving. First off, regular aerobic exercise helps improve concentration by increasing the circulation of oxygenized blood throughout the body and the brain. Exercise also helps to stimulate the natural release of adrenalin-like compounds which can lead to greater clarity. Finally, exercise helps to energize you all day by increasing your body’s response to insulin and metabolize blood sugar more effectively.
Exercise is nature’s natural antidepressant. In fact, clinical studies now show that after two weeks, a regimen of regular exercise works as well—if not better—to reduce the symptoms of mild to moderate depression more effectively than some prescription medications. Like prescription antidepressants, exercise appears to increase the levels of certain brain chemicals thought to directly affect mood. Only exercise exerts its mood elevating properties without any of the negative mental side effects of medications such as drowsiness.
Technology was supposed to make our lives easier. Unfortunately, with all of the gadgets and gizmos at our disposal, the daily demands and stresses in our lives are more prevalent than ever. And they’re keeping our minds from the rejuvenating benefits of a good night’s sleep. With an estimated 65% of Americans suffering from insomnia, the use of prescription sleeping pills is steadily on the rise. But drug induced sleep is not restful, and all those pills come with undesirable side-effects. Fortunately, regular exercise can help promote the natural relaxation that will lead to a restful and rejuvenating sleep.
Natural pain relief:
Along with the stresses of life, many of us are plagued by daily aches and pains that can be both physically and mentally debilitating. Regular exercise can help to alleviate pain naturally—through the release of endorphins and other natural chemicals that can help relieve pain. For those suffering from joint pains caused by arthritis, mild to moderate exercise can help bring relief by promoting better muscle support of inflamed joints, along with the natural lubrication and potential rejuvenation of joint tissues.
Think of the most productive and positive people you know. Chances are they are actively engaged in a routine of regular exercise. It takes will power and self-discipline to establish and stick to a routine of regular exercise. But when you do it you become empowered, knowing that you’ve taken the time to do something positive, just for you.
There are two kinds of people in this world—those who exercise, and those who don’t. People who exercise regularly are not only more positive about life in general, they tend to associate with positive like-minded people as well. They also tend to surround themselves with positive stimuli such as good music, healthy foods, fresh air, organic essential oil candles, and whatever else they can find to help maintain a healthier mental outlook.
About the Author: Kathy Sholes is a freelance write for Live TRu essential oils.