We live in the 21st century, where our lives have taken a quick pace, and we are occupied with one or the other errand every time. We don’t get enough time to recharge ourselves.
One of the biggest problems that we face because of this is degrading mental health. Mental health issues like depression and anxiety are on the rise, and the worst thing is that they are not easy to overcome and treat.
Medication and talk therapy are considered the best option to get rid of mental health issues; workouts and exercises are still underrated.
While medication and therapy take a lot of time and are pretty expensive, exercises are arguably the best way to cure mental health issues. They are the least disruptive and cheaper than the former two.
Medicines take a lot of time to show the improved changes in an individual. On the other hand, exercises can lift the mood almost instantly. Moreover, there are hardly any side effects of exercise, while many medicines may impact the hormones.
Anders Hovland, a clinical psychologist at the University of Bergen in Norway, and his colleagues identified twenty-three clinical trials on the effectiveness of workouts and exercises on mental health. It was found that exercise was indeed effective, and in many cases, exercises proved to be better than medication.
It has been noted in many studies that post COVID-19 times; there is a massive spike in the number of people with mental health issues. In a study conducted on more than three hundred people by Jacob Meyer, an exercise psychologist at Iowa State University, and his colleagues, it was found that people who stopped working out during COVID reported terrible mental health.
Apart from improving an individual’s mental health, exercises also help boost the brain. The release of protein ‘brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) during is exercise is one reason that stimulates the brain.
Physical activity and exercise of any form can improve a person’s reaction to stress and anxiety, which eventually enhances mental health.
It is advised that an individual doesn’t require hardcore exercises to feel the difference and see the results in their mental health. Physical activities as simple as a walk are sufficient, as it engages the body in activity and divert the mind away from their thoughts.
A study shows that exercises as simple as a placebo, including body stretching and moderate body movements, can work half of an intense workout to improve mental health conditions.
A study conducted on about four thousand adolescents by Aaron Kandola, University College London, shows that those who did any form of light exercises had very few chances of getting mental health issues than those who spent their time sitting idle.
Mental health issues often lead to impaired physical health and other serious problems. A study shows that lonely older women are more prone to heart diseases by 27%. Other issues like diabetes and unstable blood pressure are common among people with mental health issues.
Thus exercising should be the first step towards feeling better. While the researchers are still finding more authentic evidence towards the relation of exercises and mental health & boosting the brain, one must not ignore the proven effects of exercises.