How Exercise Influences Your Mental Health

Exercise has been proven to improve mental health.

Courtesy of Cleveland Clinic

Exercise has been proven to improve mental health.

Fiona Salisbury, Photojournalist

Exercise is essential in so many ways, and by exercising more, people can begin to improve some aspects of their lives. Most people may assume that the health benefits of completing sufficient exercise only extend as far as improving physical health, but exercise has been proven to have positive effects on one’s mental health.

 

Physical activity’s influence on someone’s mental health can be best attributed to the fact that exercise is an excellent distraction for the brain. By exercising, someone can work towards fitness goals that are meant to improve their lifestyle, and additionally, when many people exercise, they are surrounded by others who are capable of uplifting them. Thus, exercise is known to help people improve anxiety and depression while also increasing someone’s self-confidence and cognitive capabilities. Exercise’s benefits to improving mental health can also lead to significant improvements in sleep schedules, mental alertness, mood, weight loss, energy, and more.

 

The recommended amount of exercise to yield the best results is to complete thirty minutes of exercise a minimum of three days. Even though this is the recommendation, completing more than the recommended amount can also be beneficial, and the time spent exercising can also be split up throughout a day if it is more convenient. One does not need to do anything too intense to get results as merely taking a brisk walk is enough for there to be mental health benefits.

 

Even though mental health can be improved through exercise, it is important that people do not overexert themselves, as this can lead to other problems such as burnout. The mental health benefits of exercise no longer apply when it becomes mentally draining; by taking the time to recover after strenuous exercise, and by avoiding overtraining, people can avoid fitness burnout to ensure that they are still gaining the mental health benefits of exercise.

 

Exercise has greatly helped [her] become happier. By participating in sports and doing some additional exercise on [her] own time, [she] feels that [she] is now happier overall.”

— Megan Chou (12)

 

According to Megan Chou (12), “Exercise has greatly helped [her] become happier. By participating in sports and doing some additional exercise on [her] own time, [she] feels that [she] is now happier overall.” By taking a mere 30 minutes out of one’s day to engage in exercise, someone can greatly improve their happiness and satisfaction with everyday life. Even though exercise can not solve all of life’s problems, it helps people focus on improving one aspect of their lives that they can control, and this can result in many positive changes for your mental health.