Getting Mentally Fit – 4 Unexpected Benefits of Exercise


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Exercise is important for your mind as well as your body. We all know that exercising can help us lose weight and get stronger. But we don’t always think about the mental health benefits of exercise. These alone should be enough to inspire anybody to add physical activity to their daily routines.

Here’s 4 unexpected benefits of exercise:

1. Exercise relaxes you.

Exercising can put us in a peaceful state of mind. Practicing yoga, for example, gives us time for self-reflection and frees our minds from the day’s stress and anxiety.

I also find that a good 5-10 minute stretch after a strenuous workout is a great reward for the hard work I’ve put in. It relaxes my muscles and feels like a whole-body massage. Stretching also keeps me from being too sore the next day.

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2. Exercise makes you happier.

When we exercise, our brain releases endorphins that make us feel good even after our workout is done. The more we exercise, the more we want to exercise. This is why some people are thought to be addicted. So, when we feel down and the last thing we want to do is get up and workout, that is actually the first thing we should try to do to lift our spirits. I definitely have had some of my best workouts after a bad day at work. Afterwards, I feel so much better and can begin a relaxing evening.

3. Exercise makes you more confident.

As we begin to workout consistently and we notice ourselves getting stronger and improving our stamina, we feel better about ourselves. The more we can accomplish through exercise, the more confident we feel that we can accomplish more in other aspects of our life as well. This can translate into better grades in school, a raise or promotion at work, or achieving personal goals in a side project. For this reason, it’s important that we make the time to exercise even when we feel that it’s not worthwhile.

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4. Exercise reduces pain.

Many people are concerned that if they exercise, they will injure themselves or worsen an injury they already have. However, if you are practicing proper form in appropriate routines for your body, exercising should help improve certain issues.

I have had knee pain on and off since playing flag football in high school. I have to be very careful if I want to do certain activities, like jogging. But when I regularly practice squats and strengthen the muscles around my knees, my pain goes away almost completely. Of course, it is important to talk with your doctor regarding the pain you have prior to starting an exercise routine to make sure that the routine will be suitable for the problems you are experiencing.

Exercise has also been shown to relieve pain from menstrual cramps. So instead of laying down waiting for the Midol to take effect, try doing some sort of physical activity and see if it helps.

Have I left anything out? What benefits have you experienced from regular exercise? Please comment to share your thoughts and ideas.

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