Health Minute: Exercise Boosts Your Mood
We know exercise is good for your body, but did you know it can help your mind as well? Studies show that exercise can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress and more. Trey Godwin, MD, with Adventist HealthCare explains how regular exercise can affect your mood.
How does exercise affect your mood? Exercise increases the levels of endorphins and serotonin, which are your brain’s natural mood-lifting chemicals. Exercise can also help:
● Increase energy levels
● Improve memory and thinking
● Regulate sleep patterns
● Improve self-esteem and confidence
● Distract you from worries or negative thought patterns
What are some ways we can be motivated to exercise? Common obstacles to exercising are feelings of exhausted or being overwhelmed. When you’re stressed or depressed, it may seem that adding another obligation of working out can make you feel worse but evidence shows even five minutes of exercising in nature can lift your mood and energy. Some tips that may help are:
● Start small – Set achievable goals and build up from there
● Schedule your workouts – Make exercise a necessity to clear your mind and invest in your body. Choose a time when your energy is highest.
● Focus on activities you enjoy – Dance to music, play frisbee with a dog or friend, or walk laps in the mall while window shopping.
● Reward yourself – Promise yourself an extra treat to a delicious smoothie, an extra episode of your favorite TV show or even a hot bubble bath to relax your muscles.
How else can we improve our mood? For even greater benefits, try exercising outdoors. Studies suggest Vitamin D can help protect us from a range of conditions such as osteoporosis, heart attacks and depression. Spending more time outside can also decrease your screen time, which has been linked to worsening mood and even depression.