What Are The Psychological Benefits of Regular Exercise in Daily Life

Psychological Benefits of Regular Exercise

Psychological Benefits of Regular Exercise
Psychological Benefits of Regular Exercise
Ask anyone what exercise affect the most in our body and you will get the answer that it is good for our muscle power, physical strength, flexibility, weight control and cardiopulmonary conditioning. 

No doubt that these are the effect of exercise on our physical appearance. However, researches show the benefits of exercise are beyond physical well-being and exercise has psychological or mental benefits too. 

Exercise can promote psychological well-being as well as improve quality of life. Improved mental well-being is linked to regular physical activity. Physical activity has been shown to prevent depression, anxiety disorders, and sleep disorders. Additionally, beneficial effects on co-morbid chronic diseases have also been observed. Exercise for a few weeks as a treatment for anxiety disorders, depression and schizophrenia has been shown to be effective. 

Anxiety, Depression and Stress

Anxiety, Depression and Stress
AnxietyDepression and Stress
So, how exercise help in anxiety,  depression and stress? According to World Health Organisation (WHO) mental health is ‘A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease’. 

Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health disorders. Exercise promotes a wide range of changes in the brain. It enhances neural growth and decrease inflammation. 

Physical activity kicks up endorphin levels, the body’s famous “feel good” chemical that produces feelings of pleasure and enjoyment. Exercise generates state of emotional well-being by decreasing anxiety, depression, and negative behavior. 

These improvements in mood are proposed to be caused by exercise-induced increase in blood circulation to the brain and by an influence on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and, thus, on the physiologic reactivity to stress. This physiologic influence is probably mediated by the communication of the HPA axis with several regions of the brain, including the limbic system, which controls motivation and mood; the amygdala, which generates fear in response to stress; and the hippocampus, which plays an important part in memory formation as well as in mood and motivation. 

Exercise serves as a disruption in negative thoughts which are the causing factors of depression. Studies have shown that exercise has positive effect on individuals with low confidence and social withdrawal. Increasing your heart rate can actually reverse the stress-induced brain damage can be by stimulating the production of neurohormones like norepinephrine, which not only improve cognition and mood but improve thinking clouded by stressful events. 

Exercise also forces the body’s central and sympathetic nervous systems to communicate with one another, improving the body’s overall ability to respond to stress.


Improved muscle strength, the tone of the body, controlled weight and diabetes all are physical achievements of physical exercise, but these also provide a feel of self-esteem, pride, increased satisfaction and confidence in physical accomplishments. Decrease in pain and improvement in physical performance fill you with confidence.


The goals should be set based on individual’s capacity. Goals should be realistic and achievable. Achieving the goals step by step gives you feel of motivation. 
Decrease in Anxiety, Depression and Stress and building up of confidence and social relationship as a result of good and effective exercise training program bring and up lift the motivational level in individual. It drives to do more and better day by day. However, it should be monitored very closely as excessive exercise may lead to fatigue which in turn may result in lack of motivation.


Studies have shown that the hormone named Irisin produced during exercise improve cognition. Individuals who are physically active and perform regular exercise  demonstrate good grasping power. Excercise  enhance memory and thinking by improving mood and sleep, and by reducing stress and anxiety.


When you don't get sufficient rest, you feel tired, you find it hard to focus and recollect things and you might be irritable. Lack of sleep can also impede your judgment and effect your actual coordination. Deficiency of enough sleep impacts the way you think, work and interact with other people. Studies show sleeplessness is often a symptom of mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Regular exercise can help you sleep better. 


It offers a potential chance to come together and get social help when you exercise with others. Exercise and physical activity may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighborhood can help your mood. It can help bring about social support which in turn can improve individual’s confidence and sense of achievement.

How much exercise is needed?

Research suggests that exercise is well accepted by people with serious mental illness and is often considered one of the most valued components of treatment.  
Studies show that the most improvements in people with anxiety and depression are seen when they performed rhythmic, aerobic exercises, using of large muscle groups (jogging, swimming, cycling, walking), of moderate and low intensity. They should be conducted for 15 to 30 minutes and performed a minimum of three times a week in programs of 10-weeks or longer. 
You can start with a session of 5- or 10-minute per day initially and slowly increase the time period then. Even a brief walk at low intensity can improve mood and increase energy.  A 30 minutes session of moderate intensity exercise of 3 times a week can produce long-term benefits.
While planning for the physical exercise regime or work out program, you should be cautious about “over training”. Excessive work outs or over training may deteriorate physical performance and you may miss the desired out come. It is highly advisable that you should consult your physician/physiotherapist/gym trainer regularly to get the best results.

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  1. A really good read. I'm facing a long road back to fitness following a health problem. Beforehand, I was very fit and without that I feel low and lacking in confidence. It's going to take some doing, but I can't wait to get back to full fitness!

  2. Great info! I struggle to get started with exercise, but knowing this helps mental health as well, it is a great motivator.


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