World Mental Health Day 2022: How Exercising Can Manage Stress, Anxiety, And Depression

You should exercise not just for physical health benefits but also to boost mental well-being. Read the benefits here.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarUpdated at: Oct 10, 2022 11:35 IST
World Mental Health Day 2022: How Exercising Can Manage Stress, Anxiety, And Depression

Our lives are becoming increasingly hectic day by day. As a result, stress, anxiety and even depression are on the rise. Cases of depression can even be seen in teenagers, which is alarming. The most common ways to deal with these are medications and therapies and that can be really expensive and sometimes uncertain. But as it often is, sometimes the simplest solutions are the most effective and yet often overlooked. Exercise has the potential to manage stress, anxiety, and mental health issues such as depression.

It is no secret that exercising has a lot of benefits. It helps against heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes, and a lot of other issues. But what many do not know is that exercise is a powerful treatment for mental health issues as well. At first, exercise and mental health may seem unrelated. But exercise causes a lot of changes in our body that have profound effects on the brain too.

The founder of Get Fit with Rihana, Rihana Qureshi, a leading fitness expert, lays down some of the surprising benefits of exercise on mental health.

Combat depression & anxiety

It's been proven scientifically that exercise can reduce the symptoms of depression & anxiety. Exercise releases certain feel-good chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood and leave you feeling better about yourself. And it doesn’t have to be a hardcore gym workout. Even a simple run can give you that ‘runner’s high’ which makes you feel euphoric.

Also Read: Ways to Overcome Career Anxiety

How Exercising Can Manage Stress

Enhance brain power

Exercising pumps more blood to the brain. This can not only prevent cognitive decline and degeneration of the brain but actually help to create new brain cells through a process called neurogenesis which leads to improved memory, focus, and concentration. It means you think better, have better concentration and focus.

Decrease Stress

Increased heart rate due to exercise actually helps reverse stress induced brain damage. Exercise forces the body's sympathetic and central nervous systems to communicate with one another, improving the body's overall ability to respond to stress. A simple brisk walk is known to lower cortisol which is the stress hormone.

Increase Self Esteem

Some exercises like strength training, resistance training, body weight training actually impact your physical appearance – your muscle tone improves, you start looking leaner and stronger, which leaves you with a more positive feeling about yourself and boosting your confidence.

Also Read: Sleeping Less Than 9 Hours Can Put Children At Risk of Mental Health Issues

Better sleep & rest cycles

Exercising Can Manage Stress Anxiety Depression

Sleep is closely linked to mental health. Depression often causes poor sleeping patterns and vice versa. Exercise helps to tire you out, so that you can sleep better. Physical activity helps to regulate our circadian rhythm leading to more consistent and restful sleep. Again sleeping (resting) well has a positive impact on our brain health.

Remember, it is not necessary to force yourself if you do not like going to the gym. You can choose any form of activity that you enjoy doing – running, cycling, swimming, playing your favourite sport, dancing, or martial arts. The key to doing this long-term is to pick something that you like and something that you'll want to keep doing. 

Image credits- freepik