It’s not breaking news that physical exercise has many benefits. However, it’s not all about getting six-pack abs or buns of steel. Your workout routine does much more than shape, lift, and tone. It can enhance your mental health in multiple ways. Sure, plenty of you can attest to exercise’s positive impact on mood, but it goes much further than that.

The past year and a half has disrupted many fitness regimens from coast to coast and has us all figuring out new ways to stay calm, safe and sane. As you ponder how to get back in the flow, keep in mind what it does for your mind. From self-esteem to stronger brain cells, the perks just keep coming.

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7 Ways Creating an Exercise Routine Will Benefit Your Mental Health

1. Stress Reduction

Exercise positively impacts your brain chemistry. Find your nearest search engine and type in words like endorphins, norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin, and you’ll realize exercise causes an increase in these chemicals. This, in turn, enhances your ability to deal with stress. The reduction of stress is a crucial step toward better mental health.

A de-stressed person is more likely to:

  • Experience healthier interpersonal relationships
  • More easily deal with challenges and crises
  • Process information more efficiently
  • Enjoy a higher quality of life

2. Higher Quality of Sleep

A lack of sleep leads to mood disorders, irritability, poor concentration, and even depression. Still, with a commitment to fitness, your brain will have an easier time transitioning into sleep mode. People with healthy sleep habits experience less of all that and far more optimism and energy.

That’s because exercise increases your body’s physical temperature. Also, the simple act of expending more energy each day leads to a need for more sleep. As you attain a higher quality of sleep, your mental health reaps the rewards. Waking up feeling motivated will then keep you ready to stay consistent with your workouts. Can you say win-win?

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3. Improved Self-Esteem

One of the great things about exercise is how easily you can measure your progress. It could be pounds lifted or pounds lost. You might go for speed or size, but no matter the milestone, your self-image will improve. On top of that, exercise builds a stronger feeling of self-awareness. You learn what you like to do, what feels important to you, and how to set and reach goals.

4. Brain Gains

As you build your muscles, you’re also strengthening your brain. Exercise has been shown to improve cognitive function and literal brain growth. So, in other words, you can pump up your brain! This translates into unbelievable improvements in your memory and concentration while fighting off the effects of aging.

5. YOU Time

Life can be hectic. You have so many demands and responsibilities. Sticking with an exercise routine gives you much-needed time to focus on yourself. This goes a long way in keeping your mental well-being balanced and healthy. And exercising outside can add to the mental health benefits, so take that nature hike as part of your routine.

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6. Social Time

For some people, gym time is also social time. You may have a workout partner or connect with a fun group or fitness class. However you approach it, positive social connections like this are valuable to your mental health, and exercise helps facilitate that.

7. Physical Health

Illnesses or injuries put immense stress on your psychological health. Exercise can’t guarantee you’ll never get sick, but it does reduce your chances of it happening. Being healthy and feeling confident about your body directly translates into real physical benefits like a boosted immune system and more energy.

Therapist Columbus Ohio

Starting any new routine involves changing some personal patterns. Of course, this can be a tricky process. Talking with a therapist about how to make such transitions can help. The first step toward the gym might actually be an appointment with a counselor! Contact Blue Boat Counseling today to schedule with one of our Columbus therapists. We can help.