Recently, in public health, a sedentary lifestyle has been proposed as an important factor in the occurrence of various chronic diseases, as well as in the increase of psychological distress. As a result, some countries have promoted policies that strengthen lifestyles based on physical activity. That is to say, exercising daily is one of the most recommended activities for maintaining a healthy life. It has great benefits not only for physical health, but also for promoting psychological well-being. Which one is? In this article you will find some.
How exercise improves psychological well-being
These are the different ways that exercise improves our mental well-being.
1. Experience a sense of achievement
Exercise is usually not an easy task. This involves a number of behaviors that we may not be used to. For example, maintaining a routine, waking up earlier, or improving your diet. In addition, it causes a number of bodily reactions that make the task even more difficult: our heart rate quickens, breathing becomes more difficult, sweating increases, muscles contract.
Concluding an exercise routine, despite these experiences, is a factor of self-recognition that allows us to feel successful and which influences the secretion of dopamine, one of the reward neurotransmitters. Achieving goals increases tolerance for frustration and improves self-perception: by feeling successful after achieving a goal, we also improve the value judgments we make about ourselves.
2. Improve self-image
Self-image is the set of characteristics that we attribute to our person, it is a complete assessment of what we perceive about ourselves. One of the consequences of constant exercise is that you begin to notice physical changes which are generally positive and which are also recognized by the people around us. Therefore, the mental representation we have of ourselvesCompared to cultural norms of beauty and physical well-being, this changes positively: we look stronger, more muscular, or healthier, which generally improves the value we place on ourselves. Additionally, by feeling more satisfied with the way we see ourselves, we also relate more confidently to others.
3. Improve mood and reduce stress level
Performing an exercise routine allows us to experience joy and euphoria, which causes us to seek to continue or repeat the activity. This is linked to the release of endorphins, which are neurotransmitters with analgesic effects that cause pleasurable sensations. This is also linked to the reduction in stress and anxiety levels..
When we exercise, neuromuscular tensions decrease, as do some stress hormones, and the heart rate normalizes, which alleviates anxiety. All this helps us to maintain a good mood and release tension, which also has positive consequences in our interpersonal relationships and even in stabilize our sleep cycles.
4. Change habits
Habits are the behaviors that we adopt so often that they become characteristic of our way of life. When we start to exercise regularly, we inevitably take care of other aspects of a healthy lifestyle, such as eating or maintaining a daytime structure. That is to say the exercise and the associated feeling of success, it predisposes us to pay more attention to what we eat, The times we get up or sleep, how often we exercise and may even motivate us to watch out for other types of habits that are usually harmful, such as constant smoking or alcohol use.
5. Optimize cognitive functions
Scientific research in the neuropsychological field has linked exercise to a significant improvement in cognitive processes. Importantly, the effects on aging have been documented, but not exclusively. One of the recorded benefits is the development of executive control skills such as planning, scheduling tasks, short-term memory, and multitasking. Among other factors, this has been linked to a significant improvement in neuronal plasticity (the anatomical adaptation of neurons to changes and demands of the environment). There are also improvements in problem solving, motor stimulation, and selective attention.
Given the recommendations and scientific evidence, it is important that everyone takes the initiative and devotes space and time to exercise. commonly it is recommended to do between 20 and 30 minutes per day, Combining aerobic and muscle exercises. If you’re not used to it, you can increase it to 5 minutes a day and perform routines two or three times a week.
Plus, you can do activities that don’t involve financial strain or more travel, like running or doing everyday activities at home. You can even turn to new technology and find different options online to exercise without having to leave your home.