7 Unexpected Ways Exercise Improves Your Mental health

If you think that exercise is all about the muscle gain and aerobic capacity, you are wrong. Many people hit the gym depending on their priorities like getting a beach body, building muscle, fitting into favorite clothes and at the end of the day, to improve overall fitness. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on gym memberships or exercise classes to achieve your workout goals. I came across a website called Garage Gym Planner which will aid you in setting up your own gym at home.

Exercise helps you feel energetic and is a powerful antidote for many health challenges. But, do you know that exercise benefits mental health hugely?

People who work out frequently tend to stay active all the time because they get an immense sense of wellbeing from regular physical activity. They tend to sleep better and have very sharp memories and are relaxed as well. This is because exercise is one of the most efficient ways to improve your mental health.

Let’s take a look at seven ways in which exercise boosts mental health

#1 Improves Self-Confidence

Ever heard about a runner’s high? Well, hop on that treadmill or get outdoor and start jogging to feel it. Studies reveal that physical activities will have a positive impact on one’s self-esteem. So start exercising now to collect the rewards.


Doing exercise outdoors can be a psychosocial boost. Outdoor environments will bring out the best in you rather than working indoors. Exercise also results in a raised perception of attractiveness in people regardless of weight, size, gender or age. Thus, exercise improves self-worth as well.

#2 Exercise Reduces Stress

Are you having a rough day at the office? Then, it’s time to put your jogging shoes on. Stress relief is the most common perk of proper exercise. Regular physical activity can increase concentrations of norepinephrine which is a chemical that moderates the brain’s response to stress. Physical activity can relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body. If your body feels better, so will your mind.


#3 Improves Memory

Not able to remember where you kept the keys? Forgot about an appointment with your boss? Well, it’s time to start working out.

According to some studies, you can significantly improve your memory and stay active if you exercise every day. Exercise boosts cognitive performance as you get older. Doing the crossword or mastering a new language can be fuelled by dumbbells at the other end.


#4 Prevent Cognitive Decline

As we age, there are possibilities that our brains will get a little foggy. Degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s kills or damages brain cells. Neither exercise nor a healthy diet can cure Alzheimers. But, can help fight cognitive decline and reduces the chance of degenerative diseases. While you workout, the chemicals in the brain that prevent degeneration of hippocampus are boosted. It is an important part of the brain when it comes to learning and memory.


#5 Prevents Depression

Various studies have indicated that exercise can combat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressants, that too without any side effects.

So how does it fight depression? Workouts aid different changes in the brain including neural growth, diminished inflammation, and different activity patterns that encourage emotions of calm and well-being. Exercise can also distract you from negative thoughts that aid depression.


#6 Help Control Addiction

Any form of pleasure is rewarded by the release of dopamine by the brain. Unfortunately, some people get addicted to substances that result in dopamine production like alcohol and drugs. On the contrary, exercise can help you fight this addiction.

Short sessions of physical training can distract addicts by de-prioritizing their craving for drugs or alcohol. Alcohol can disrupt circadian rhythms, thus leading to the lack of sleep forcing many to have a drink before sleep. But, Exercise can help reboot these body functions and prevent sleeplessness.


#7 Promotes Creativity

What should you do after a good workout? Most people will go for a hot shower and some rest. But, an intense gym session can promote creativity for up to 2 hours. Exercising outdoors and interacting with nature can help you get better results. So next time if you feel like being creative, don’t look for inspiration elsewhere. Go for a long walk or jog to empower your mind and body at the same time.


Many refrain from physical activity because they are starting out too hard. Some decide not to workout even before you get the rewards, thus failing to notice how much it can benefit your mind and body. Would it hurt to gain self-confidence or be smarter? Of course not. So, take inspiration from the mental benefits of exercise listed in the article and start working out.


No matter how old you are or what our fitness level is, exercise is the most powerful tool to lead a healthier, relaxed and happier life.

About the Author

Evelyn is a fitness writer at garagegymplanner.com. She writes regularly on topics revolving around exercise and diet and helps educate readers on the best ways to improve their health and looks naturally.

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