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Exercise and Its Benefits to Wellness of Mind and Body

In the last ten years, scientists looked into how exercising can enhance brain function. No matter the person’s age or fitness level, research shows that making time for exercise offers some important mental advantages.

Here are six ways regular exercise can boost cognition and your general sense of well-being:

Stress Reduction
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Stress relief is one of the most popular benefits of exercise. Working up a sweat is helpful in managingboth physical and mental stress. It also increases your body’s supply of norepinephrine, a chemical that can regulate your brain’s stress response. So if you feel at times that you’re being swallowed by mental tension, get out there and start moving.
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Increased Production of Happy Hormones

Running a few miles on the treadmill can be a pain, but it’s worth the hard work! As you might have heard in the past, exercise releases happy hormones called endorphins. Based on studies, exercise can even calm symptoms of clinically depressed individuals. Because of this, doctors recommend gym time for anyone suffering from depression or anxiety as long as long as they are physically capable. There are cases in which exercise proves to be just as effective as antidepressant medication.

No worries if you’re not exactly the gym buff type — you can get an instant happy buzz even if you work out for only 30 minutes twice or thrice weekly.

Self-Confidence Boost

Get on the treadmill to look and feel like a superstar. At a basic level, physical fitness improves your self-esteem and develops a positive self-image. Whatever your age, gender, size or weight, exercise can fast elevate your feelings of self-worth.
Loving the Great Outdoors

Your self-esteem can improve even more when you exercise in the great outdoors. Do some research and find an outdoor workout that matches your style, whether it’s hiking or jogging in the park or rock-climbing and so on. All that Vitamin D you get from soaking up the sun (wearing that sunscreen, of course!) can stop those depressive symptoms on their tracks.

Maintaining Cognitive Ability

It’s hardly good news, but it’s a fact — as we get older, our cognitive abilities decline. Although exercise and a healthy diet can’t cure Alzheimer’s disease, they can help fight cognitive decline, which typically starts after the age of 45. In persons between 25 and 45 years old, exercise boosts the levels of specific chemicals in the brain that prevent the degeneration of the hippocampus, that section of the brain that is in charge of learning and memory.

Anxiety Alleviation

Finally, just a little Q & A: which do you think is better when it comes to relieving anxiety — getting a warm bubble bath or jogging in the park? You may find the answer surprising. The warm and fuzzy chemicals released by your body during and after can be soothing. And we thought exercise was just a great way to lose weight!