Physical activity is good for your body but it's great for your mind, too. Research has shown that exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good – boosting your self-esteem, helping you concentrate, as well as sleep, look and feel better.
A few benefits of exercise are:
• Less tension, stress and mental fatigue
• A natural energy boost
• Improved sleep
• A sense of achievement
• Focus in life and motivation
• Less anger or frustration
• A healthy appetite
• Better social life
• Having fun
How active do I need to be?
Aim to do 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week. It may sound like a lot, but it isn’t as daunting as it first appears. 'Moderate exercise' means being energetic enough that you:
• breathe a little heavier than normal, but aren’t out of breath
• feel warmer, but don’t end up hot and sweaty
Remember, you don’t have to jump in at the deep end. Build up slowly, at a pace that suits you. You might like to do 30 minutes per day, or you may prefer to split your time into two 15 minute sessions – it's entirely up to you!
Exercise helps prevent and improve a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis. Research on anxiety, depression and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help reduce anxiety and improve mood.
The links between anxiety, depression and exercise aren't entirely clear — but working out and other forms of physical activity can definitely ease symptoms of anxiety or depression and make you feel better – read 6 Tips for Managing Stress and Anxiety for some other ideas. Exercise may also help keep anxiety and depression from coming back once you're feeling better.
Did you know May is Mental Health Awareness Month? Increase your awareness of mental health challenges and check out our "B4Stage4 Resources."
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