Exercise for Mental Health

We all have our own reasons for exercising. Most of us want to look better, feel better, boost energy, and become stronger. But what about our mental health? Exercise does wonders for mental health, and I don’t even need scientific studies to prove it.

I lived it.

In my early twenties, my I neglected my health. I went though a bad break up, moved in with my parents after a few years of living on my own, and took up a bar tending job to finish my Psychology degree. I wasn’t exercising or eating healthy. I was just going though the motions until one day I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognizeΒ the reflection.

I blamed everyone else for not telling me what I looked like, although I would have probably bitten their heads off. I started to realize how long it had been since I wore something besides sweat pants and work clothes. I started to realize how crappy I really felt inside. I went to the gym thinking I would jump right back into the same exercises that I did with ease during my high-school lacrosse days and left 5 minutes later with my tail between my legs.

What happens next is most important….

I walked. I put on my favorite music and walked out the front door. I didn’t feel like it and I had every excuse in the world not to, but I didΒ it.Β It was only for 15 minutes but I did it. And then I went again the next day. And the next. I didn’t drop an ounce at first, but it motivated me to eat a little healthier. So I did.Β Before you know it, I had a little pep in my step and felt like there was a light at the end of the tunnel. It took time and I had to keep the motivation alive along the way, but the simple act of moving myself from the couch to the street was the beginning of a beautiful journey to health and happiness.

Your Brain On Exercise

Endorphins

Endorphin release creates a feeling of euphoria. Endorphins counteractΒ pain receptors and trigger positive feelings, much in the same way as morphine.

I felt HAPPIER. Β Β When I came home from my walks, IΒ felt more positive. I went from being disappointed that I could only last 15 minutes to excited that I made it 1 mile.

 

Norepinephrine

Β An increase in norepinephrine enhances the body’s ability to handle stress,Β which aids in anxiety and depression.

I felt more RELAXED.Β I stopped blaming others. I stopped eating or sleeping when I was overwhelmed. Instead, I walked out the door and didn’t look back.

 

Self confidence

I started to feel more COMFORTABLEΒ in my own skin a little more each day. I stopped dodging pictures and family get togethers.Β I started becoming more social with each day, and it felt good.

 

Sound Sleep

When you exercise, yourΒ core temperature rises. As you continue to move around, you stay warm. When you wind down atΒ the end of the day, your core temperature lowers signaling your body that its time to rest.

I didn’t realize how badly I slept until I woke up RESTED.

 

Inspiration

You start to realize that what you are doing is inspiring those around you and that is THE BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD!

I felt INSPIRED toΒ share my healthy lifestyle with my loved ones which empowered me to keep going.

 

 

Regardless of what “moves” you, you will experience these wonderful things when you begin a healthy exercise regimen. So what are you waiting for? Get up and GO!

 

single step.jpg

 

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