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We are all very aware of the physical health benefits that exercise provides, solving issues ranging from weight control, blood pressure and diabetes. But exercise doesn’t only benefit the body but also the mind. Mental health is just as important in leading a healthy lifestyle, this is how exercise helps.

Helps depression and anxiety

Exercise is a great way to treat mild to moderate depression without having to use antidepressants. A study done by Guszkowska M, investigated the effects of exercise on anxiety, depression, and mood. Guszkowska found that jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, even gardening can help increase your moods. This is due to an increase of blood circulation to the brain, reducing inflammation and releasing endorphins. Endorphins are a powerful chemical in your brain that create a general feeling of well-being.

The release of endorphins help function as a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment, with exercise acting as a distraction from any intrusive thoughts. Not only will exercise help you physically but it will give you something to do in your free time.

Decreases stress

When we get stressed, our bodies tend to tense up, causing headaches, muscle cramps and neck/back pain, causing the physical pain to bring on more distress. Exercising is an effective way to relieve any physical tension by releasing endorphins in the brain. Since the body and mind are so connected when your body feels better, you will feel mentally better as well.

Increases your self esteem

There are a variety of reasons that can cause depression, having low self-esteem is one of them. Through regular exercise you can increase your endurance and muscle tone, as well as accomplish a variety of physical challenges. All these achievements can add up to a major boost in self-esteem and confidence.

Helps ADHD and PTSD

Exercising regularly can be an effective way to reduce symptoms of ADHD and improve concentration, memory, motivation, and mood. Exercise can increase the brains dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels, helping with focus and attention.

By exercising and focusing on your body you can help your nervous system move out of immobilisation caused from a stress response related to PTSD or trauma. Exercises that involve the use of both your arms and legs such as running, swimming and weight training are good choices, as well as yoga and Pilates which can provide big boosts to physical and mental health.

Mental health is just as important as your physical health and are often interlinked. If you feel exercise can help you on your mental health journey, we have a team of personal trainers at Trojan Fitness who can help tailor a workout plan to cater to your needs.

Hannah Irwin