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Saturday
Jan042014

Healthy Lifestyle ~ The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

It's January - the time of the year that so many resolve to focus more on exercise.  In addition to the physical benefits of exercise, there is another benefit that can easily be overlooked.  As part of the ongoing series "Healthy Lifestyle", let's take a look at the Mental Health Benefits of Excercise

Hawaiian Energy Shotz was developed to provide hours of sustained energy with the cleanest form of nutrients to assure both short-term and long-term benefits to help you excel in your activehealthy lifestyle. Exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle that will help fuel your body, and your mind, for sustained energy on a day-to-day basis.  Regardless of your level of activity, the important thing is to keep your body moving.   

We all think of the physical benefits of exercising - cardiovascular health and building muscle, to name two.  In addition to the wonderful physical benefits, there are also mental health benefits.  Regardless of age or fitness level,  including everyone from "mall-walkers" to endurance athletes, studies show that making time for exercise provides mental benefits.  If you already exercise on a regular basis, you most likely already know these benefits.  Need inspiration - read these unexpected ways that working out can benefit mental health, relationships and lead to a healthier and happier life.

1. Reduce Stress

Rough day at the office? Take a walk or head to the gym for a quick workout. One of the most common mental benefits of exercise is stress relief. Working up a sweat can help manage physical and mental stress. Exercise also increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain's response to stress. Go ahead, get sweaty - working out can reduce stress and boost the body's ability to deal with existing mental tension. 

2. Boost "Happy Chemicals"

Getting through any workout can be tough, but it's worth the effort. Exercise releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Studies have shown that exercise can even alleviate symptoms among the clinically depressed. For this reason, health care providers recommend that people suffering from depression or anxiety (or those who are just feeling "blue") pencil in plenty of gym time. In some cases, exercise can be just as effective as antidepressant pills in treating depression. Don't worry if you're not exactly the gym type - getting a happy buzz from working out for just 30 minutes a few times a week can instantly boost overall mood.

3. Improve Self-Confidence

Hop on the treadmill to look (and, more importantly, feel) like a million bucks. On a very basic level, physical fitness can boost self-esteem and improve positive self-image. Regardless of your weight, size, gender or age, exercise can quickly elevate a person's perception of his or her attractiveness. How's that for feeling the (self) love?

4. Enjoy The Great Outdoors

For an extra boost of self-love, take your workout outside. Exercising outdoors can increase self-esteem even more. Find an outdoor workout that fits your style - rock-climbing, hiking, renting a canoe or just taking a jog (or walk) in the park. The Vitamin D acquired from soaking up the sun (while wearing sunscreen, of course!) can lessen the likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms. A little fresh air and sunshine (and exercise) can work wonders for self-confidence and happiness?

5. Prevent Cognitive Decline

As we get older, our brains get a little... hazy. As aging and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's kill off brain cells, the brain actually shrinks, losing many important brain functions in the process. While exercise and a healthy diet can’t “cure” Alzheimer's, they can help the brain against cognitive decline that begins after age 45. Working out, especially between age 25 and 45, boosts the chemicals in the brain that support and prevent degeneration of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain for memory and learning.  

What's your favorite exercise to reduce stress?

Thanks Every Body Walk! for the great information.

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