Does Exercise Improve Your Psychological Health?

Sport is one of the most positive activities on a psychological level, since it favors the production of endorphins. It also improves physical fitness and self-perception.
Does Exercise Improve Your Psychological Health?

Written by Óscar Dorado

Last update: 04 June, 2022

In addition to being good for your body, exercise improves your psychological health. Regular exercise can have a positive impact on depression, anxiety, and other disorders. In this article, we’ll discuss why physical activity relieves stress, enriches memory, helps you sleep better, and improves your overall mood.

As the World Health Organization points out, moderate amounts of exercise are extremely beneficial for a person, regardless of age or fitness level. Everyone can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to feel better.

Without a doubt, the key is to commit to some physical activity, no matter how light, several days a week. Keep in mind that as exercise becomes a habit, you can add a few extra minutes or try more challenging activities. If you do, the benefits of exercise will begin to pay off.

Does exercise improve an individual’s psychological health?

This is a recurring question for many people, both those who exercise regularly and those who don’t. To answer it, here are the psychological benefits of playing sports or exercising. Take note!

1. Excercise reduces stress

When you’re physically active, your mind is distracted from the stressors of everyday life. This can help you avoid getting bogged down with negative thoughts.

According to a Mayo Clinic article, sport reduces levels of stress hormones in the body. At the same time, it stimulates the production of endorphins, which help keep stress and depression at bay.

2. Exercise improves self-confidence

The regular exercise that accompanies sports practice leads to increased confidence and self-esteem. This is due to the overall improvement it produces both physically and in terms of health and aesthetics, according to a publication by Manual Merck.

Hombre haciendo deporte.

3. It prevents cognitive decline

Regular physical activity helps maintain mental abilities as you age. This was confirmed by a recent study published by Frontiers In Psychology, which found that moderate exercise promotes cognitive flexibility, while more intense exercise boosts the speed of information processing.

4. It stimulates memory

According to research published in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology in 2012, regular physical activity boosts memory and the ability to learn new things.

In this sense, exercise increases the production of cells in the hippocampus, which are responsible for memory and learning, and even for neurogenesis, i.e., the formation of new neurons. This is explained in a study by Behavioural Brain Research.

5. It increases relaxation

People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them a noticeable sense of well-being. This is due to the generation of endorphins mentioned earlier, and also ratified by a study in Sports Medicine.

Therefore, if you exercise you will feel more energetic during the day, sleep better at night, and feel more relaxed and positive.

6. Exercise improves your mood

Finally, physical activity triggers brain chemicals that make you feel happier and more relaxed. These are precisely endorphins and serotonin.

Exercise improves your mood

Moreover, team sports in particular provide social benefits and the opportunity to relax and participate in a collective challenge that improves physical fitness.

Therefore, it might be advisable to practice a team sport, as it will allow you to experience from the social side the benefits of sports practice. Team sports reduce isolation and create the opportunity to make new friends.

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute or an hour or a day or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. However, if I quit, it will last forever.”

-Lance Armstrong-

How to overcome excuses

Now that you know that sport improves your psychological life because it helps you feel so much better and that it also doesn’t require as much effort as you might have thought, it’s time to let go of the excuses. These are some of the most common excuses when it comes to doing exercise:

  • You’re tired: When you’re tired, it seems that exercising will make it worse. However, the truth is that physical activity is energizing. Regular exercise reduces fatigue and increases energy levels, according to the Merck Manual publication cited above.
  • You feel overwhelmed: Exercising doesn’t always seem feasible when you’re too busy. However, you may find that physical activity helps you do everything else better. If you start thinking of physical activity as a priority, you’ll soon find ways to fit small amounts into a busy schedule.
  • You’re hopeless: Exercise helps you get in shape. If you’re inexperienced, start slow with a low-impact movement for a few minutes a day.
  • You feel bad about yourself: No matter what your weight, age, or fitness level, there are others who share the goal of getting fit. Accomplishing even the smallest fitness goals will help you gain confidence in your body.

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Exercise improves many aspects of your life

In short, it’s obvious that exercise improves the psychological life of the person. Therefore, professionals agree that regular exercise is recommended for the entire population.

As you’ve seen, this brings numerous benefits. To all of these benefits, we can also add that there are options for all tastes and no one is excluded, regardless of their age or even if they suffer from previous conditions or illnesses. Choose your favorite sport or exercise and enjoy all its positive consequences!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.