What are the mental health benefits of regular exercise?
We all know that exercise is essential for our physical health. After all, this is the main reason why people come to Wickwoods Country Club, Hotel & Spa. Whether you are a regular gym member, play tennis or looking for exercise classes for seniors, being physically active on a regular basis is known to help reduce the risk of serious diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. But that’s not all. Physical exercise also provides significant benefits for your mood, sleep, stress levels, self-confidence and brain power.
Exercise enhances the connections between your brain cells, stimulates new neural connections, and leads to the release of feel-good hormones called endorphins. Endorphins act as natural mood boosters and stress relievers. Exercise also prompts your body to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure and reward. Dopamine makes you feel good and enhances self-confidence.
With regular exercise, you can transform your mental health and emotional outlook. You don’t have to do intensive workouts to experience these benefits. But whatever you do, the time to start exercising for your mental wellness is now.
Here are the main benefits you can expect to achieve:
Exercise releases feel-good hormones
Physical activity releases endorphins, the body's natural mood elevators and painkillers. Endorphins act as natural antidepressants and stress relievers, giving you an uplifting feeling that can last for hours after exercise. Even light activity like a 30-minute walk a few times a week can boost your endorphin levels. Endorphins help decrease pain and increase pleasure, creating an overall sense of well-being. Exercise also triggers the release of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine—all key neurotransmitters that improve your mood and act as natural mood boosters.
Exercise reduces stress and anxiety
Exercise lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol while boosting your resilience in the face of stress. It also raises your heart rate, which helps release pent-up stress and tension. Activities like yoga and tai chi, meditation and more are offered as group exercise classes in our studios, incorporate controlled breathing and meditation, which can lower stress and anxiety. Exercise helps decrease symptoms such as panic, worry, and rumination while making you better equipped to deal with stressful situations. Studies show exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication for some people.
Exercising improves sleep
Exercising makes it easier to fall asleep and leads to deeper, more restorative sleep. It regulates your body's circadian rhythms so you feel sleepy at the right time, i.e. at night! Studies show that people who exercise sleep longer wake up less during the night and report improved sleep quality. However, we recommend that you avoid strenuous workouts in the gym close to bedtime, as the energising effects of exercise may delay sleep if you’re working out too late in the evening or at night.
Exercise enhances self-confidence and cognitive function
Exercise releases dopamine, also known as the ‘motivation molecule’ that activates the reward circuits in your brain. Dopamine makes you feel good and enhances self-confidence, motivation and focus. Exercise also boosts the growth of new neural connections and helps maintain cognitive skills as you age. Studies show regular exercise can lead to improvements in memory, mental speed and decision making. Exercise may even slow the cognitive decline associated with aging and decrease the risk of dementia. Confidence comes from pushing through challenges and achieving goals, which exercise provides.
In conclusion, we firmly believe that exercise should be considered a first approach for the wellbeing of the body and the mind. With regular physical activity, you can experience substantial improvements and the rewards to your psychological state and quality of life can be just as powerful as the physical benefits.
You don’t have to become an athlete to experience the mental uplift from exercise. Start slowly and build up, find activities you genuinely enjoy, set small and realistic goals. Aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise like brisk walking, gentle jogging, or swimming in our indoor or outdoor pool facilities. Activities like yoga, tai chi and cycling are also excellent for both mind and body. Make exercise a habit by choosing a regular time to work out or walk each day and stick to it. Your mood and mindset will reap the benefits, helping you feel calmer, happier and more content from the inside out.
At Wickwoods Country Club, Hotel & Spa, we aim to provide a supportive environment in which to look after your health and wellbeing. Why not come and see our extensive premium facilities in the heart of the Sussex countryside and book a tour to see for yourself? Call us on 01273 857567 or email us at email@example.com for details – we look forward to meeting you.