There are few topics in psychology that attract more attention than the link between mental health and exercise. In fact, researchers from numerous fields have explored how regular physical activity can positively impact both the body and mind.
But the relationship between mental health and exercise is quite complicated. Numerous factors could mediate this link, and it’s difficult to pinpoint them all.
As one recent post by Psych Central explains, mental health is a broad concept. It takes a holistic approach to discover the best chance at happiness and health.
But let’s see how exercise can contribute to this daring goal.
Mental Health and Exercise: What Are the Benefits?
We know for a fact that exercise can improve mental health. In fact, researchers have proven the link between exercise and health so many times that it’s no longer a debatable topic.
As for mental health, experts believe exercising can boost memory and thinking skills both directly and indirectly. On the one hand, exercising triggers the growth of new blood vessels in the brain. This can translate into better cognitive functioning.
On the other hand, exercising indirectly improves memory and thinking by enhancing our overall mood. In other words, it’s easier to think and come up with better results when you can keep problems like anxiety and stress under control.
Sometimes, all it takes to overcome a ‘bad’ mood is 30 minutes of light-to-moderate intensity exercises. That means a quick jog in the park or maybe some light Pilates at home.
Exercise is Just One Piece of the Puzzle
Current studies suggest that our diet can have a significant impact on our mental health. Furthermore, problems like sleep deprivation can leave a serious mark on our overall sense of health and well-being.
It appears that when it comes to health – both physical and mental – exercising is just one piece of a bigger puzzle.
Overall, it seems there are three key factors that can improve mental health – exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and having a healthy diet.
To learn more about teen mental health, click here.