It seems that improved communications, instant access to vast stores of information, and a plethora of labour-saving devices have failed to bring the freedom they promised. The incidence of depression, post-traumatic stress, and numerous other mental health problems has never been higher, while also affecting subjects much younger than usual.
It’s therefore a comfort to learn that the adage which states that a healthy body means a healthy mind has long been confirmed as more than just an “old wives’ tale” and that there is a demonstrable connection between physical and mental wellbeing. This, of course, does not imply that pumping iron will ever be a cure for schizophrenia, but rather that a good workout can work wonders as a way to lift your spirits.
The explanation for this phenomenon is quite a simple one. It relates to the physiological properties of certain chemicals that influence brain activity. Often described as the “feel good” chemicals, the release of the endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine is boosted as a direct result of exercise, and these then act on the brain to create a feeling of general wellbeing.
This is a feeling that encourages action and can provide the motivation previously lacking to solve some of the problems that could often be the underlying cause of depression and anxiety. While spicy foods and dark chocolate have also been shown to promote the release of these mood-lifting chemicals, observing the physical results of overindulgence is quite likely to provoke renewed depression.
It is therefore not only beneficial to exercise in order to lose weight and stay fit, but also for your mental wellbeing. Exercise is thus one of the best things that you can do for your overall health, whether it be to de-stress, lift your spirits, or gain muscles.