7 Ways Staying Fit Keeps You Mentally Healthy

An illustrated brain with a red headband staying mentally fit by running on a treadmill

Staying fit is good for your mental health and it’s easier than you think!

Key takeaways:

  • Exercise benefits more than your physical health

  • Working out can chase away anxiety, stress, and depression

  • The weight loss that comes with physical activity can also boost your self-image

  • Living an active life helps your brain grow more robust and increases the creation of new brain cells

The fact that exercise increases physical fitness is well-known, but the benefits to mental health aren’t quite as widespread. Here’s a big surprise: exercise makes you smarter and happier. It increases neurons in the brain and stimulates new brain cell growth.

Neurons are the information carriers of the human body. Neural networks run throughout the body and constantly change as you learn new concepts and ideas. Neuroplasticity is how brain cells talk to each other, and the connection between them grows stronger every time it happens.

Exercise is one of the most powerful forces behind this process. So, let’s take a look at seven effective ways that exercise can benefit your brain and how you can stay fit.

1. Exercise increases ”happy” hormones

Exercising fights off feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress. It improves your mood by changing the parts of the brain that regulate these troublesome feelings. Working out also increases the body’s sensitivity to serotonin and norepinephrine, two hormones that relieve feelings of depression.

The best part is that it doesn’t matter how hard you work out. Basically, exercise at any level of intensity positively affects your mood.

2. It promotes weight loss which can help improve self-image

Losing weight because of exercise is not a big surprise. The self-esteem you gain afterward can be, however. Inactivity is a major player in the weight gain game. The body uses energy to do three things:</