Dr. Shawna Charles, who earned a PhD in Psychology from Walden University, put her passion for psychology into action by founding a Los Angeles boxing club to offer individuals with the assistance they need, such as fitness, a listening ear to their concerns, and a link to critical social services. Dr. Charles, like many others in her area, recognizes the link between physical and mental health.
Exercise’s Psychological Advantages
Most of us are aware of the many physical advantages of exercise, including weight management, lower blood pressure, a decreased chance of diabetes, and enhanced energy, to mention a few. But what about exercise’s psychological benefits?
There are several mental advantages of exercising, ranging from reducing melancholy and anxiety symptoms to keeping your mind sharp. Whether you’re looking for inspiration to hit the gym or just go for a stroll, the five psychological advantages of physical exercise listed below will have you lacing up your shoes and heading out the door.
1. PTSD, trauma, and exercise
Evidence shows that simply concentrating on your body and how it feels when you exercise, you may actually assist your nervous system in being “unstuck” and moving out of the immobility stress reaction that defines PTSD or trauma. Instead of letting your thoughts wander, pay attention to the actual sensations in your joints and muscles, as well as your insides, when your body moves.
Cross-movement exercises by wearing workout leggings that work both arms and legs, such as walking (particularly in sand), jogging, swimming, weight training, or dancing, are among your best options.
Hiking, sailing, mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and skiing (downhill and cross-country) have all been demonstrated to alleviate PTSD symptoms.
2. Enhances brain function and lowers the risk of dementia
Regular exercise may lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in people.
Exercise also enhances several areas of cognition in persons over the age of 50, such as processing speed.
According to a 2016 studyTrusted Source, physical exercise, cognitive activity (such as acquiring new skills), and eating a Mediterranean-style diet boost “brain health” in older persons.
The findings showed that these practices, maybe in combination, may aid in the prevention of cognitive symptoms of aging and neurodegenerative illness.
3. Improved sleep
Exercise may also help you obtain a good night’s sleep if you’re having difficulties sleeping. Physical exercise raises body temperature, which may have a relaxing impact on the mind, resulting in less sheep counting and more sleep. Exercise also aids in the regulation of your circadian rhythm, our bodies’ built-in alarm clock that determines when we feel sleepy and awake. (While enhanced sleep is a psychological advantage of exercise, sleep specialists advise against exercising close to bedtime.)
4. Disorder of Attention/Hyperactivity (ADHD)
Exercise may help youngsters with ADHD improve their motor skills and executive function. This seems to be true for both moderate and strenuous exercise, and exercising for a longer amount of time may result in greater results.6
Cardio seems to be very useful for children and adults with ADHD. Improved self-esteem and confidence
Regular exercise may help you reach a variety of physical goals, such as boosting endurance, decreasing weight, and developing muscular tone. All of those accomplishments may add up to a huge increase in self-esteem—and the confidence that comes with it. You may not set out to get better-fitting clothing, a thinner body, or the capacity to climb a hill without becoming out of breath. It often occurs without your knowledge. It’s only one of the many advantages of physical exercise that improves your body, mind, and soul.
5. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (PTSD)
Physical exercise may benefit those suffering from PTSD, particularly those who have previously battled with therapy and those suffering from subthreshold PTSD. Exercise may also assist with PTSD symptoms such as sadness, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and cardiovascular concerns.
6. How Exercise Promotes Good Health
Exercise may also be utilized to improve mental health in persons who are already mentally healthy. Increased physical exercise has been shown to improve mood, energy levels, and sleep quality.
Physical exercise is beneficial to psychological well-being for various reasons:
Exercise lowers stress hormone levels. Exercise reduces stress chemicals such as cortisol. It also boosts endorphins, your body’s “feel-good” chemicals, providing you a natural mood boost.
Physical exercise diverts your attention away from unpleasant thoughts and feelings. Physical exercise may divert your attention away from your troubles and either refocus it to the task at hand or induce a zen-like state.