According to my daughter, the more active I am the better I will feel emotionally. I admit that I don’t feel as blue on the days I’m out and about as I do on those days where I do nothing. I’m curious though, what about being active helps us feel better emotionally?
What is the connection between physical activity and emotional health?
Your daughter is very smart! Yes, exercise has a positive effect on mood and mental health in general. You may have heard about the “Runners’ High”, which is actually an exercise induced release of feel-good chemicals called endorphins responsible for improving mood and making you feel more relaxed.
Additionally, physical exercise decreases the amount of stress hormones released by your body, so your blood pressure and heart rate should both be lower at rest, enhancing that feeling of calm. And no one can dispute the role that exercise plays in promoting a good night’s sleep. It is known to help you fall asleep faster and improve the quality of your sleep, when timed correctly and completed well before bedtime.
At the end of a busy day, often the last thing you feel like doing is exercising, but if you can push yourself to find the motivation and time, it could make you feel much better.
Doctors often prescribe exercise as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for patients with depression for all these reasons. So lace up those sneakers, and just move, regardless of what it is you choose to do. You’ll feel so much better as a result!