8 Impactful Ways Physical Exercise Influences Our Mental Health

By Urbanaveed
12 Min Read

Physical exercise influences our mental health in a myriad of ways. Out of these numerous ways, we will discuss some of the simplest and most explainable ways. Currently, science cannot explain many such ways with detailed concepts but work is still going on to seek explanations. Physical exercises, both aerobic and anaerobic have substantial effects on our overall emotional well-being. Without a doubt, physical exercise aids in retaining a healthy body, but at the same time, it influences our mental health too. There are a bit detailing explanations behind this mind-body connection, but we will be go through them comprehensively.

Aerobic And Anaerobic Exercises

Aerobic and anaerobic exercises both exert positive impacts on our mental health in general. However, both of them have slightly different consequences on our emotional well-being.

Aerobic Exercises

Aerobic exercises like running, swimming, or jumping elevate the heart rate and improve our cardiovascular health. Aerobic exercises improve our blood circulation by vasodilation and reduce the risk of heart attacks or blockades. Engaging in aerobic exercises triggers the release of important neurotransmitters like endorphins and serotonin which augments our mental health. Aerobic exercises enhance the oxygen uptake by the cells by providing enough oxygen for their vital functions. This increased amount of oxygen benefits the neurogenesis and neural plasticity in certain brain regions. Consequently, our cognitive abilities become more efficient and skilled.

Anaerobic Exercises

Anaerobic exercises like intense hiking, heavy weight-lifting, or resistance training improve muscle strength and integrity. Besides the physical effects of these exercises, they influence mental health by building endurance capabilities in us. Anaerobic exercises simply be defined as strenuous work in short bursts with recurrent breaks. Such exercises maintain discipline and self-esteem when done appropriately. These exercises do not participate in increasing the oxygen efficiency of neurons or the heart rate. They simply require moderate oxygen levels to perform them. Ergo, anaerobic exercises are less advantageous in the context of emotional well-being. They are more beneficial to improve physical health like muscle density and appearance, joint structure, etc.

examples of aerobic and anaerobic exercises for healthy mind and body
Apart from routine exercises, these are some examples of unique and effective aerobic and anaerobic exercises.

The 8 Ways By Which Physical Exercise Is Advantageous

Physical exercise influences our mental health in these insightful ways. Let’s learn them in a steady manner bit by bit. Aerobic and anaerobic exercises stabilize emotional health by

1. Releasing Endorphins;

The release of endorphins is more closely associated with aerobic exercises. While doing such an activity, our brain perceives that as a form of stress. In response to that stimulus, it sends signals to adrenal glands to release adrenaline and nor-adrenaline to manage the situation and prepare the body for strenuous activity. The activation of adrenal glands also stimulates the pituitary gland in the brain to release beta-endorphins. Beta-endorphins are the natural painkillers that minimize the perception of pain. These painkillers are also referred to as natural opioids produced by the brain to create calming and relaxed feelings.

This effect of beta-endorphins also exerts a positive feedback loop on aerobic activity. The soothing effect of endorphins encourages us to get our bodies more engaged in doing exercise. Release of relaxing biochemicals also help to raise appetite.

2. Releasing BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor);

Brain-derived neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is a significant protein synthesized by certain regions in our brain. BDNF plays an important role in maintaining neural health. It is known for its healthy impacts on the development and protection of neurons. Aerobic and resistance exercises trigger the secretion of this protein. Besides its physical impacts on neural health, BDNF plays a crucial role in mood regulation. Information is scarce about the role of BDNF but its elevated levels are associated with optimistic behavior. Owing to its neurogenetic function, it is clear that the production of new neurons is related to enhanced emotional well-being.

3. Reducing Cortisol Levels;

Aerobic and anaerobic exercises stimulate the mechanisms to reduce cortisol levels in the body. The body perceives strenuous exercise in the form of stress. To counter this apparent stress, it triggers the brain to activate stress-reducing mechanisms. Reduction in cortisol levels and preparation of the body for fight and flight response are major ways to accomplish the defined task. Brain-derived neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and beta-endorphins also have a role in alleviating stress-inducing mechanisms. Beta endorphins reduce the symptoms of stress by alleviating the sensation of pain and inducing relaxing mechanisms. Anaerobic exercises like yoga or resistance training help gain emotional stamina to counter stress situations. Yoga offers peace and mindfulness that ultimately reduces cortisol levels and stimulates happiness-related hormones.

4. Developing New Neurons;

Physical exercises, especially aerobic ones are very constructive for the development of new neurons. Neurogenesis is the process of the formation of new neurons. Initially, it was considered impossible for neurons to divide once they differentiated. According to the latest scientific studies and evidence, it has been seen that physical exercises can induce neurogenesis in certain regions of the brain. One such region in the brain is the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the part of the limbic system of the brain that is associated with learning and memory.

Besides many physical effects of neurogenesis, it plays a pivotal role in our emotional well-being. The formation of new neurons allows the brain to increase connections and overall neural activity.

5. Releasing Serotonin;

We have already discussed the positive impacts of serotonin in detail. Aerobic exercises are well-known for their serotonin-releasing mechanisms. Serotonin, in short, is a neurotransmitter in our central nervous system. It uplifts the mood and sustains a positive character in our behavior. Elevated levels of serotonin induce positive impacts on our body and emotional well-being. Tryptophan is an amino acid that serves as a precursor to serotonin. Regular exercise increases the sensitivity of serotonin receptors which helps boost serotonin levels.

6. Improving Neural Plasticity;

Neural Plasticity is the process in which neurons or neural connections reorganize themselves as an effect of a new stimulus or repetitive ones. This process continues throughout life. Neural plasticity refers to the formation of new neurons(neurogenesis) or synapses or modifying the existing connections. This process is crucial for timely adaptation to the environment or new experiences. Variations in neural connections have a positive impact on overall mental health as variations are a part of life and are always appreciated. Both aerobic and non-aerobic exercises influence this process but aerobic exercises facilitate this by improving blood circulation.

Efficient oxygen supply and improved blood circulation to the brain cells lead to enhanced chances of neural plasticity. As a consequence of this, the brain develops new connections to improve the cognitive and thinking abilities of a person.

7. Improving Disciplinary strategies;

In this aspect of emotional well-being, anaerobic exercises play a major role. Anaerobic exercises like weightlifting or resistance practices, aim to build muscle strength and self-esteem simultaneously. Such activities that involve intense stress periods in short bursts help to make us mentally strong and confident. Strenuous hiking and weightlifting help us to practice patience and improve our disciplinary strategies. Development of such abilities always prove helpful in life as patience and discipline is the key to success. Hand exercises for arthritis are aligning in the case of improving disciplinary strategies. Although they provide relief to hands pain, combating hand arthritis, they also refine the hand motor skills and makes you efficient in gesturing.

8. Promoting Social Interactions;

Different people having different purposes when come together at the same place and do the same activities promotes socialism. According to scientific research, positive social interactions have a big influence on our mental health. We belong to the human race and we are meant to be interconnected with our race. Humans need a community to live and prosper and this is the optimistic way of living. Alone individuals and introverts usually suffer more from mental health issues than socially active individuals. So, physical exercises bring like-minded people together and this has a beneficial effect on our emotional well-being.

To cut short

To cut short the above discussions, physical exercises, both aerobic and non-aerobic are pivotal in our emotional well-being. Without a doubt, they have pronounced impacts on our physical health but they have certain impacts on our emotional well-being too. Secretion of endorphins, serotonin, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) influence mood amplification and optimism. Reduced stress levels by reducing cortisol in our blood and perception of pain (function of endorphins) affects both physical and emotional health. Besides the above-mentioned benefits of aerobic and non-aerobic exercises, physical exercises improve our cardiovascular and neural health which are the major areas of concern.

In fact, healthy aerobic exercise is the only major cause of triggering adult neurogenesis in specific brain regions. Thus, it would be good to engage ourselves in such healthy activities regularly.

Share This Article
Student of BSc MLT at NUMS, and Content Writer in Health, Medicine, and Wellness. Finding soothe in writing and spreading knowledge.
  • Pingback: Wants To Look Young? Try These 6 Facial Exercises For A Healthy Face. - Habitlearn
  • I have been browsing online greater than three hours as of late, yet
    I by no means discovered any interesting article like yours.
    It’s beautiful worth sufficient for me. In my opinion,
    if all webmasters and bloggers made good content material
    as you probably did, the net will likely be much more
    helpful than ever before.

  • Pingback: Mild Regular Exercise Have An Impact In Regulating Immune Health By It's Anti-Inflammatory Effect - Habitlearn
  • Pingback: Serotonin helps boosting our mood, but how it is produced and released in our body? Let's see the whole mechanism in detail. - Habitlearn
  • Pingback: High Altitude Fitness Strategies: Exercise And Diet | Habitlearn
  • Pingback: 6 best hand exercises for arthritis that make hands grip stronger. - Habitlearn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *