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Wellness of Mind and Body through the Benefits of Exercise

In the last decade, scientists have studied how exercise can enrich brain function. Whatever the person’s age or fitness level, research proves that setting time for exercise brings some considerable mental benefits.

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

Stress Relief
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Among the best-known mental benefits of exercise is stress reduction. Sweating up can help alleviate 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 Happy Hormone Production

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. According to studies, exercise can even ease symptoms in clinically depressed patients. That’s the reason doctors advise gym time for anyone who has depression or anxiety as long as their physical condition allows. There are cases in which exercise proves to be just as effective as antidepressant medication.

No worries if you’re not exactly the gym buff type — you can get an instant happy buzz even if you work out for only 30 minutes twice or thrice weekly.

Self-Confidence Boost

Get on the treadmill to look and feel like a superstar. At a basic level, physical fitness improves your self-esteem and develops 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. All that Vitamin D you get from soaking up the sun (wearing that sunscreen, of course!) can stop those depressive symptoms on their tracks.

Maintaining Cognitive Ability

It’s hardly good news, but it’s a fact — as we get older, our cognitive abilities decline. Though exercise and a healthy diet can’t treat Alzheimer’s disease, it can help prevent or control cognitive decline, which starts after the age of 45 in most people. In persons between 25 and 45 years old, exercise boosts the levels of specific chemicals in the brain that prevent the degeneration of the hippocampus, that section of the brain that is in charge of learning and memory.

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? You may find the answer surprising. The warm and fuzzy chemicals released by your body during and after can be soothing. And we thought exercise was just a perfect way to shed weight!