The two main benefits of exercising are to improve the quality of life and health in general.
Many people go to the gym to improve their cardiovascular health, gain muscle and to develop a strong body and mind. However, there are other positive effects we can achieve with regular physical activity, such as psychological benefits.
Psychological benefits in sports: Exercise is healthy for your mind!
Over the past few decades, researchers have discovered how exercising can improve our cognitive functions regardless of age or physical condition. Studies have shown that dedicating time to exercise also produces many benefits to our mental well-being. “Exercising regularly is good for humor, memory, and learning,” says psychiatrist John Ratey of Harvard Medical School, author of “New and Revolutionary Science of Exercise and Brain.”
If you get used to exercising daily or if you are the one who has difficulty putting on your tracksuit, pay attention to the following lines. From Psychology and Mind, we present the 10 psychological benefits of practicing exercise.
1. Produce chemicals of happiness
Running a few miles can be tough, but it’s worth it! Exercising releases of endorphins, chemicals that produce a sense of happiness and euphoria.
Studies have shown that they can even relieve symptoms of depression. For this reason, psychologists recommend that people suffering from depression or anxiety improve their quality of life by including exercise in their life. If you do not practice daily physical activity, exercising 3 days a week for half an hour can improve your mood instantly.
2. Reduce stress
After a hard day at work, there is nothing better than resetting your mind, body, and soul by visiting the gym or running down the beach. One of the psychological benefits of practicing physical activity is that it reduces stress.
In addition, exercise also increases the production of norepinephrine. A chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress. So wear sports clothes and sweat a little.
3. Improve self-esteem
Seeing positive changes both mentally and physically will make you feel good. Continuous exercise will improve your self-image and improve your self-esteem. Regardless of weight, age or sex, physical exercise can raise the positive perception of one’s attractiveness, and consequently, make you value yourself more.
4. Improve your social relationships
As your perception of yourself and your emotional health improve, your social relationships can also improve. As a result of increased self-confidence, you will be more likely to reach out to others. Participating in guided classes or group sports, your confidence will improve.
5. Relieves anxiety
Neurotransmitters released during and after exercise can help people who are anxious by helping them to calm down. A bicycle ride or some medium to high-intensity aerobic exercise can reduce the symptoms that anxiety produces.
6. Prevents cognitive impairment
As we get older there is an increased risk of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The likelihood of these diseases emerging increases after age 45. Performing physical activity between 25 and 45 years increases brain chemicals that prevent the degeneration of hippocampus neurons.
In addition, practicing physical exercise on a regular basis and modifying routines for older people, is associated with a lower risk of mortality.
7. Improve your memory
Exercising regularly can improve your memory and ability to learn new things. The reason for this is that it increases the production of hippocampus cells that are responsible for memory and learning.
This benefit not only happens in the case of minors. The elderly also benefit from exercising. A study by Winter and Breitenstein (2007) explained that performing sprints improve vocabulary acquisition and retention in adults.
8. Increase your brainpower
Exercising your brain produces more neurons and more connections between them. This is a phenomenon known as neurogenesis. As a result of working out, your brain will gain shape and increase your learning ability.
In an investigation by Vaynman, Ying and Gomez-Pinilla, it was shown that intense training increases the levels of a protein known as BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) found in the brain and believed to have a positive influence on intake of decisions, in thinking and learning. To go deeper into this topic, we recommend you read the article “5 tricks to improve your intelligence”, by psychologist Bertrand Regader.
9. It helps you to be more productive
An investigation conducted by Schwarz and Hasson (2011) concluded that workers who exercise or exercise regularly are more productive and have more energy than their sedentary partners.
In addition, if we exercise at noon, lunch break, or before going to work, the activity will help us stay more active throughout the day, avoiding moments of decline or lack of attention at work.
10. Helps control addiction
The brain releases dopamine (the reward neurotransmitter) in response to a pleasurable stimulus such as sex, drugs or food. Unfortunately, there are people who become addicted and dependent on substances that produce dopamine releases in large quantities. Exercise can help with the recovery of the addict because short sessions of exercise have a positive effect on alcohol or drug addicts by postponing cravings (at least in the short term).
Alcohol abuse, in addition, prevents normality in the life of the addict. A negative consequence of overconsumption of this substance is that it disrupts circadian rhythms, and as a result, alcoholics have difficulty sleeping or staying asleep if they do not consume alcohol. Practicing exercise can help restart the biological clock and help you fall asleep.
In short, physical exercise is natural, easy and it helps you improve the quality of life, increase your self-esteem, prevent diseases and improve your learning. After reading this, are you still willing to give up these benefits?
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