Many of us get very focused on the physical benefits of exercise, and why not, we lose weight, improve our overall health, and look great. But no matter how much we gain physically we shouldn’t ignore the psychological effects of exercise.
1. Better mood. We’ve all heard of ‘the runners high’ this is achieved after a runner, or anyone doing physical activity, reaches a certain level in their workout and their body releases chemicals that make them feel good.
That only works for a short time during the activity, but we can continue to have a good, more stable, mood permanently. While no one seems to understand what causes this many speculate that the good mood is simply brought on by the knowledge that you are taking good care of your body and you are looking better and getting healthy.
2. Exercise is a proven stress reducer. People who work out on a regular basis are generally less likely to let little unexpected problems get to them. They are usually more ‘even keeled’ no matter what their day throws at them.
This too could be a side effect of the chemicals released by your brain during exercise. Or it could just be a side effect of the knowledge you are taking control of certain aspects of your life so you are more confident in other areas of your life.
3. Higher self esteem. Knowing that you are taking care of yourself, having the confidence and commitment to work out on a regular basis, and of course the improvements in the way you look, all add up to increased self esteem.
It’s tough to feel bad about yourself, or anything else, when you know you are one of those people who workout. There is a certain positive feeling about taking good care of yourself.
4. Brain Health. From building intelligence to strengthening memory, exercise boosts brainpower in a number of ways. Studies on mice and humans indicate that cardiovascular exercise creates new brain cells – a process called neurogenesis, and improve overall brain performance.
It also prevents cognitive decline and memory loss by strengthening the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Studies also prove that physical activity boosts creativity and mental energy. So if you’re in need of inspiration, your big idea could be just a walk or jog away.
Exercise is good for you, we all know that. But now it’s important to realize that there are also psychological effects of exercise that can not only help your body stay healthy, it can keep your mind and spirit healthy too.