The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Michael Towers
September 13, 2019

Before I dig into this topic, I want to tell you a little bit of my story so that you can understand why I'm so passionate about this topic. In 2011, right after eating my third plate of Christmas dinner I decided to weigh myself. 271 pounds! This was the heaviest I had ever been. I have been fit for over half my life. I played football in high school and college and also played 5 years of rugby. Like most people, I let my career and the ups and downs of life push my physical health to the back burner...

I had recently gone back to college to finish earning my degree, and one of the courses I needed to take was exercise psychology. I thought this will be great, I'll learn all the reasons why I should exercise, and I still won't do it. I'll be full of knowledge, but take no action, and now I will feel guilty about it. After learning about all of the mental health benefits of exercise, frankly I thought, if I don't start exercising I'm an idiot.

We know that exercise helps us lose weight, helps regulate our blood pressure, and gives us more energy. Exercise will build muscle to support joints, and make us stronger. Exercise also builds self esteem, and makes us more desirable. So why exercise for mental health?

1. Release Happy Chemicals.

Studies have shown that any physical activity stimulates several chemicals in your brain that allow you to feel more relaxed. Exercise also lowers cortisol, which is the stress hormone. Tough day at work? Exercise can turn that around!

2. Release Happy Chemicals. Studies show that the chemicals called endorphins, which are released during exercise, help reduce symptoms of depression.

3. Better Sleep.

Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. This in turn, will improve your mood.

If you want to live your best life, you have to be your best you. If you are in a better mood and are happier it will impact your life and relationships. More energy and better sleep will make you a better spouse, father, leader, and employee. It may be hard to take that first step and establish a routine, but if you suffer from anxiety or depression, or are new to recovery, I’m sure you’ll try anything to get relief and feel better. 30-45 minutes of moderate exercise will do just that.

It's @michaelsbestlife because I'm living my best life and I want to help you live yours!

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