We all know that exercise can make you look better, help you fit into your clothes better and get you stronger, but one of the most important and underrated benefits of exercise is its effect on your mental health.
…and after the past year we’ve all endured, mental health is more important than ever before.
Of course, physical health is important, too.
Exercise improves strength, bone density, cardiovascular health, hormone balance, blood sugar management, and more. It can also improve how you look in the mirror… and who doesn’t enjoy that?
However, check out what else exercise can do for you!
Studies show that as little as 15 minutes of exercise each day can reduce depression, anxiety and stress.
Have you ever felt so stressed out that you were kind of jittery? That’s when you know it’s time to go outside for a walk or run (instead of to the kitchen for chocolate.)
I bet you’ve noticed, too, that when you were in the dumps and you got up and moved, that you felt better.
After a year + of shutdowns, isolation and limited social interaction, we know that depression, anxiety and stress are at an all-time high.
Exercise can also improve your memory and self-esteem, boost your energy and help you sleep better.
The best part is that you don’t need to spend three hours at the gym to get all these benefits of exercise!
If you’ve been inactive for a while, start slow. With the weather getting warmer and the sun shining longer, you can start with something simple like a walk or bike ride.
If you have a park nearby, you can mix in some push-ups or stepping up to a bench (step-ups), or stop every hundred steps and do 10 squats.
The other great aspect of the emotional benefits of exercise is that you’ll get almost immediate gratification … whereas the improvements in your physical appearance take some time to show.
Finally, exercise is something you can do with a friend or significant other … so not only will you both benefit from the exercise itself, but you can’t beat the social interaction we’ve all been craving.
Hopefully, one of the positives to come out of the pandemic is that it made us recognize that exercise benefits both our bodies and our minds.