Health is described as being in a state of physical and mental well-being. Some of us may look perfectly healthy but in reality we're letting ourselves go in one of the areas that counts the most – our mind. According to the NHS information centre for health and social care, approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.
The most common of those is a mixture of depression and anxiety, with 8 out of every 100 people suffering from it. The reason we're telling you this is because the leading remedy for these conditions is physical activity and we are going to tell you why you should be doing it…
When exercising, we release a lot of naturally produced chemicals from the brain’s hypothalamus and pituitary gland. This results in what a lot of people refer to as the “runner's high”. This is a feeling of well-being, relaxation and in some cases, overall euphoria.
The chemicals that produce this feeling are referred to as endorphins. The “endo” comes from endogenous (inside the body) and “orphins” comes from its morphine related effects. Two such endorphins, beta and gamma are the main ones that produce positive mental effects. Beta is responsible for the runners high that we all appreciate. Gamma is the endorphin that has been shown to help regulate schizophrenia while at the same time regulate blood pressure. Exercise has also been shown to promote changes in neural growth, reduce inflammation within the brain, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being.
While this may seem like an obvious benefit, it's still worth mentioning. Time and time again, self-esteem, confidence and overall self-worth have been linked to our physical appearance. According to the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, subjects who showed signs of depression showed a direct correlation with having a lower sense of self-image. Through exercise and proper diet, we can improve the muscle tone/size/strength, thereby improving our sense of self-worth, reducing one of the major factors contributing to depression and low self-confidence..
Sense of Achievement
Too often, depression and low self-esteem are compounded by a sense of worthlessness and a feeling of lack of accomplishment. In order to properly advance in anything, it is important to set SMART (Specific, Measured, Achievable, Relevant and Timed) goals. By meeting even small exercise goals, you’ll feel a sense of achievement and will increase your feeling of overall self-esteem. Whether it be by achieving your desired body fat percentage or by lifting the weight that you've been chasing for a while, it all helps. If you are unsure of a way to set these goals or you would like some help with accountability for your goals, come see one of our personal trainers for a free session.
Again, another obvious one but it is worth mentioning… exercising through yoga has been shown to improve symptoms, both physical and mental, that can contribute depression and anxiety. One study showed that, in the personality score, the yoga test group had markedly higher scores in life satisfaction and lower scores in excitability, aggressiveness, openness, emotionality and physical complaints. Significant differences were also observed concerning coping with stress and their mood at the end of the experiment. The yoga group had significant higher scores in the “high spirits” category and a feeling of extrovertedness.