Fitness and Our Mental Health: The Benefits of Moving Daily (Part 2 of 3)
Exercise is not just about the physical benefits—of which there are many. Here are some other often overlooked benefits
By Tracy Steen
Did you know that increased physical activity is one of the best predictors of long term success in weight reduction? If you want to keep your weight down and be fit for life, you’ve got to move daily!
The benefits of daily exercise are many. You are likely aware of the physical benefits, but did you know that exercise benefits you on so many more levels?
4 Critical Ways Moving Daily Benefits You
- Psychological benefits – Exercise is known to increase your serotonin levels, which is the feel-good chemical in your brain. It can improve your mood, self-esteem, body image, and confidence in your physical abilities.
- Work-related benefits – According to the Washington Post, there is a direct link between exercise and problem-solving capabilities, creativity, and planning. Just one workout can boost higher-order thinking skills, which in turn makes you more productive and efficient. Exercising your body benefits your brain because of the increased blood flow.
- Social benefits – If you are looking to connect with other people, exercise offers numerous opportunities to do just that! If you are willing to put yourself out there, there is no doubt that you can find your tribe while exercising. I’ve been going to the same gym around the same time for 5 years now. It starts slow; you see someone and smile. By the end of the month, you see the same person 10 times, and now you know their name, their profession, and what exercises they are good at! I trained an obstetrician who has an incredibly busy life. One of the only “social” times she has with friends is during exercise. So, she multitasks and kills two birds with one stone—exercise and a visit. Brilliant!
- Physical benefits – There are so many here, like long term weight loss mentioned earlier, but to summarize it, I will quote from the Canadian Medical Association Journal: “There is irrefutable evidence of the effectiveness of regular physical activity in the primary and secondary prevention of several chronic diseases (e.g., cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression, and osteoporosis) and premature death.”
Yep. Those are reasons enough for me.
Tracy Steen is a former therapist with a masters degree in counselling. In 2008 she turned to personal training, and she now spends her days combining both, helping thousands of people. Check out her YouTube channel for free weekly workouts, nutrition, and wellness guidance.
Get your BRAIN right and your MIND will follow!
4 Mental Health Resources to Help You During the Pandemic
- If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health issue, CLAC has a number of resources and interactive tools available to help you at My Health and Wellness.
- Stronger Minds features videos and quick reads from mental health experts, activities to help you gain resilience, and ask-an-expert videos in response to questions.
- WellCan offers free well-being resources to help Canadians develop coping strategies and build resilience to help deal with uncertainty, mental health, and substance abuse concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Wellness Together Canada: Mental Health and Substance Use Support provides free online resources, tools, apps, and connections to trained volunteers and qualified mental health professionals.