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Physical activity has long been recognised as an important factor in overall health and well-being, but its benefits extend far beyond physical health. Regular physical activity has been shown to have numerous psychological health benefits as well, including reducing stress and anxiety, improving mood and self-esteem, and even helping to alleviate symptoms of depression.
One of the most well-known psychological benefits of physical activity is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Exercise has been shown to increase the production of endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators (NHS, 2021). This can lead to a sense of well-being and relaxation, making it an effective way to manage stress and anxiety.
Physical activity can also improve mood and self-esteem. Exercise has been shown to increase the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood regulation (NHS, 2021). This can lead to an overall improvement in mood and a sense of well-being. In addition, engaging in physical activity can also lead to a sense of accomplishment and boost self-esteem, as individuals can see progress and improvements in their physical abilities.
Physical activity may also have a positive effect on symptoms of depression. According to the World Health Organization (2022), regular physical activity can reduce the risk of developing depression and can also help to alleviate symptoms in those who are already suffering from the condition. Some research has suggested that physical activity may be as effective as medication or psychotherapy in treating depression (WHO, 2022).
It is important to note that the psychological benefits of physical activity are not limited to adults. Children and adolescents can also benefit from regular physical activity, with research showing that it can improve mood, self-esteem, and overall quality of life (CDC, 2020).
In addition, physical activity has also been shown to improve academic performance in children and adolescents (CDC, 2020).
Several different types of physical activity can provide psychological health benefits. These include cardiovascular exercises, such as running or cycling, strength training, and flexibility and balance exercises, such as yoga or Pilates. It is important to find an activity that is enjoyable and fits into one’s lifestyle, as this can increase the likelihood of sustained participation.
While the psychological benefits of physical activity are numerous, it is important to engage in physical activity in a way that is safe and appropriate for one’s individual needs. It is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise program, particularly if one has a medical condition or has not been physically active in a while.
In conclusion, physical activity has numerous psychological health benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety, improving mood and self-esteem, and even helping to alleviate symptoms of depression. It is important to find an activity that is enjoyable and fits into one’s lifestyle to reap the full psychological benefits of regular physical activity.
Would you like to help others benefit from the Psychological Health Benefits of Physical Activity? If the answer is yes then check out our online personal training courses. We offer a package that gives you all the qualifications you need to get out there, start training people and get paid to do what you love.
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2020). The relationship between school-based physical activity, including physical education, and academic performance. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/health_and_academics/school-health-topics/physical-activity.html
NHS. (2021). Exercise: The benefits for your mental health. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/exercise-for-mental-health/
World Health Organization (WHO). (2022). Mental health: Fact sheet No.220. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-