Benefits of physical activity for your mental health

The months of lockdown have had a huge impact on us all, and prioritising mental health has never been more important than it is now. October 1oth marks the World mental Health day and we recognise that fitness and mental health come hand-in-hand.

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), the concept of ‘health’ is ‘a state of
complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not only the absence of diseases or
illnesses’. In that sense, physical and mental health go hand in hand, and exercising regularly
can bring many benefits for your physical and mental health.

1. Improves sleep quality: exercising improves sleep quality because they help in
the maintenance and regular functioning of the body’s metabolism. A bad night’s
sleep can cause hormonal changes, weight gain, stress, somnolence, mental
confusion, muscular pain, among other negative effects.

2. Provides a balancing effect in hormone production: physical activity is
directly linked to serotonin, dopamine and endorphin production, which are the
hormones responsible for that sense of well-being, relaxation and physical

3. Increases day-to-day energy: endorphins are the hormone responsible for
causing the sensation of relaxation and they are produced during the practice of
exercising. They also contribute to getting the mind alert and well-disposed, as
well as boosting self-esteem.

4. Alleviates stress: physical activities regulate cortisol levels, known to be the
hormone connected to stress. In extreme levels, either too high or too low,
cortisol can cause physical symptoms and emotional exhaustion.

5. Prevents a multitude of diseases: a few hours of physical activity a week are
capable of reducing high levels of sugar and cholesterol in the blood. It also
lowers the probability of cardiovascular disease, muscular pain, osteoporosis,
diabetes, cancer and mental disorders.

This article is written by Gabriela Cavali Viana, a member at HITIO Gym Tavira.

Gabriela Cavali Viana | Master’s student in Clinical and Health Psychology (UAlg)


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