A lot of people pound the pavement or hit a workout class to get the physical benefits of exercise. Thosebenefits include toned muscles, better heart health, a stronger core, and of course, that summer bod, and who doesn’t want all of that?

Those are definitely great “side effects” of exercise, but breaking a sweat does a lot more than just affect the outside – it affects the inside as well by having a positive impact on your mental health.

the mental health benefits of exercise

Studies show that working out can give you some pretty amazing mental benefits, and we’re not just referring to the feel-good sensation you get when you walk out of that Zephyr class. We’re talking about the long-term benefits that impact your overall mental health, such as easing anxiety and depression.

 

The Mental Health Benefits

So, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we wanted to shed light on the five ways exercise can help your mental well-being. Some of them might just surprise you.

 

Self-Esteem

On a very basic level, the physical benefits of exercise can play a part in your overall self-esteem. Studies show that the more regularly you exercise, the higher your positive self-image, regardless of your age, weight, gender, or size.

 

Creativity

According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a sweat-drenched workout can boost creativity for up to two hours after you workout. So next time you need a boost of creative thinking, hit the trails or hop in a cycling class to really get your right brain working.

 

Productivity

It’s proven that people who workout on a regular basis have more energy than people who don’t. This energy translates into doing more, getting more done, and having a better experience while doing it.

 

Lowers Anger + Frustration

Exercise releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. When these endorphins are released more often, your anger tolerance is shown to increase. This increase allows you to react to anger and frustration in a calmer, more controlled manner.

 

Eases Anxiety

Move over bubble baths. Exercise can do wonders for those struggling with anxiety. The chemicals released post-work out reduce feelings overwhelmingness and fear that come with anxiety.

 

So now you know – working out can have positive benefits that far outweigh the physical body, not to mention “beach season.” Gaining self-confidence, handling your emotions, and improving your overall well-being are just a few of the reasons why exercise can be a driving force for better mental health.

Interested in the science behind the benefits of working out? Check out our blog post on the effects of exercise on your brain here.