We all know that exercise can make you look better, help your clothes fit better and bring out your muscle tone.
But one of the most important and underrated benefits of exercise is its effect on your mental health.
And after the past few years we’ve all endured, mental health is more important than ever before.
Don’t get me wrong, physical health is important. Exercise improves relative strength, bone density, cardiovascular health, hormone balance, blood sugar management, and more. It can also improve your appearance, which isn’t a bad thing 🙂
But studies show that as little as 15 minutes of exercise each day can reduce depression, anxiety and stress.
And as we’ve emerged from shutdowns, isolation and limited social interaction, experts fear that depression, anxiety and stress are at an all-time high.
Exercise can also improve your memory and self-esteem, boost your energy and lead to a better night’s sleep.
The best part is that you don’t need to spend 3 hours at the gym to get all these benefits of exercise. If you’ve been inactive for a while, start slow. With the weather starting to improve, start with something simple like a walk or bike ride.
If you have a park nearby, you can mix in some push-ups or tricep dips on a bench, or stop every hundred steps and do 10 squats.
The other great aspect of the emotional benefits of exercise is that you’ll feel them almost immediately … whereas the improvements in your physical appearance may take some time to show.
Finally, exercise is something you can do with a friend or significant other … so you’ll both not only benefit from the exercise itself, but also the social interaction.
Exercise isn’t just a physical activity with physical benefits. In fact, the mental and emotional benefits of exercise may be even greater.