Exercise is not just about aerobic capacity and muscle size. Sure, exercise can improve your health and physique. It can even trim your waistline, improve your sex life, and add years to your life. However, this is not the only thing that motivates many people to exercise actively.

People who exercise regularly see exercise as a way of life. This way of life also gives them a tremendous sense of well-being. Those who adopt exercise as a lifestyle feel more energetic during the day and sleep better at night. They have sharper memories and feel more relaxed and positive. In addition, exercise is a powerful remedy for many common mental health problems.

Regular exercise can have an extremely positive effect on depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Regular exercise also improves your mood by reducing stress and improves memory. However, you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to enjoy the benefits exercise provides. Research shows that small but regular amounts of exercise can make a real difference to your quality of life. Regardless of your age or fitness level, it is in your best interest to include exercise regularly in your life. You can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to improve your energy and outlook and get more out of life.

Exercise and depression

Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medications — without the side effects, of course. As an example, Harvard T.H. The Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes or walking for an hour a day reduced the risk of major depression by 26%. Research on the relationship between exercise and depression shows that maintaining a regular exercise program can prevent depression from recurring.

Exercise is a powerful depression fighter for a variety of reasons. For example, exercise promotes neural growth, reduced inflammation and feelings of well-being. At the same time, your brain releases endorphins, powerful feel-good chemicals. Finally, exercise can also act as a distraction. It allows you to find some quiet time to get out of the negative thought cycle that feeds depression.

Exercise and anxiety

Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. It reduces tension and stress. For example, try to notice the feeling of your feet hitting the ground or the rhythm of your breathing or the feeling of the wind against your skin. Focus on your body and how you feel while exercising. This focus will improve your physical condition faster. It also cuts off the constant stream of worry running through your head.

Exercise and stress

Have you ever noticed how your body feels when you’re under stress? Your face and neck muscles may be tense. This can leave you with back or neck pain or painful headaches. In such cases, you may feel tightness or muscle cramps in your chest. You may also experience problems with insomnia, heartburn, stomach pain, diarrhoea or frequent urination. The anxiety and discomfort created by all these symptoms can lead to more stress, creating a vicious circle between your mind and body.

Exercising is an effective way to break this cycle. Physical activity helps to release endorphins in the brain as well as relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body. Because body and mind are so closely linked, when your body feels better, your mind will be fine too.

Exercise and ADHD

Exercising regularly is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce ADHD symptoms and improve concentration, motivation, memory, and mood. Physical activity instantly raises the brain’s levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These hormones affect focus and attention. Regular exercise done this way works the same way as ADHD medications like Ritalin and Adderall.

Exercise and PTSD and trauma

Studies show that by focusing on your body and how you feel while exercising, you can help your nervous system “go out” and begin to come out of the immobilization stress response that characterizes PTSD or trauma. Exercises that involve cross movements, such as walking, running, swimming, weight training, or dancing, and that work both arms and legs, are some of your best choices. Outdoor activities such as hiking, sailing, mountain biking, rock climbing, white-water rafting, and skiing have also been shown to reduce PTSD symptoms.