Both your physical fitness and state of mind affect how you function daily and over the years. Understanding the link between these two aspects of life can improve your total well-being. The following guide will explain what you should know about this connection.
What Is the Relationship Between Mental Health & Physical Fitness?
Engaging in physical exercise regularly produces both short-term and long-lasting benefits. Daily activities such as walking for an hour or running for just 15 minutes can alleviate symptoms of depression. Even short periods of movement make a positive difference, as exercise can elevate your mood immediately.
One way exercise affects your mental state is by releasing chemicals, known as endorphins, in the brain to relieve pain and stress. This process creates a positive feeling that is similar to the effect of medications that are often used for the same symptoms, such as pain relievers and anti-depressants. Exercise leaves you naturally relaxed and less mindful of negative thoughts.
How Does Focusing on the Body Help the Mind?
Children and adults experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may find relief by paying close attention to their muscular and internal movements when engaging in physical fitness activities. To get such benefits, think about your breathing, the way your feet hit the ground, and how your arms move while exercising.
Focusing your mind on how your body feels can reduce the stress response that causes negative symptoms to appear. Swimming, dancing, walking, and running are among the most beneficial physical fitness activities for this type of therapy, as these exercises require movement that you can focus on.