- Reduces Stress:
Got a lot going on in your life, and feeling a little stressed about it all? Try taking a walk or heading to the gym for a quick workout. One of the most common mental benefits of exercise is stress relief. Working up a sweat will increase your endorphins, which can help manage physical and mental stress.
- Improves self-confidence:
Hop on the treadmill to look (and more importantly, feel) a million bucks. While improving your mood and your appearance, physical fitness will also boost self-esteem and improve positive self-image.
- Prevents cognitive decline:
As aging and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s kill off brain cells, the brain actually shrinks, losing many important functions in the process. While exercise and a healthy diet can’t “cure” Alzheimer’s, they can help slow the process of cognitive decline that begins after age 45.
- Alleviate anxiety:
The chemicals that are released during and after exercise can help people with anxiety disorders calm down. Doing any form of moderate-to-high intensity aerobic exercise can reduce anxiety and emotional sensitivity.
- Boosts brainpower:
Various studies on mice and people have shown that cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells (aka neurogenesis) and improve overall brain performance. Studies suggest that a tough workout increases levels of a brain-derived protein in the body, believed to help with decision making, higher thinking, and learning.
- Sharpens Memory:
Regular physical activity boosts memory and the ability to learn new things. Getting sweaty increases production of cells in hippocampus – a complex brain structure responsible for memory and learning. A recent study showed that running sprints improved vocabulary retention among healthy adults.
- Increases relaxation:
Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. For some, a moderate workout can be the equivalent of a sleeping pill, even for people with insomnia.
- Get More Done:
Research shows that workers who take time for exercise on a regular basis are more productive and have more energy than their more sedentary peers. Some experts believe that midday is the ideal time for a workout due to the body’s circadian rhythms.