More and more scientific studies prove it: exercise is essential for your physical health and your mental well-being—six mental benefits of regular exercise in a row.
Those who do it regularly can no longer do without it. It is addictive because of the feeling of happiness that sports bring about. This feeling of happiness is primarily caused by the endorphins that are released during exercise. Endorphins are a so-called opioid peptide, a hormone with analgesic properties. It ensures that we no longer perceive the irritation of various nerves.
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1. Happiness hormone
The happiness feeling of runners, the so-called runner’s high, is mainly well known. But you do not have to run a marathon to experience this high. Research showed that the endorphin concentration in the blood has already increased after an hour of slow walking. If you want to reach the lucky peak faster, you will, of course, have to trot or canter. But other sports also naturally lead to an endorphin boost. So if you prefer to play tennis or kick a ball: go ahead!
The release of endorphins is not the only thing that makes you feel better through sports. Exercise often also increases self-confidence. This benefit occurs most quickly in sports where even minor performance improvements can be easily measured, for example, running, cycling, or swimming.
And exercise is also good for your brain. Those who exercise give their brains more tasks than those who sit on the couch at home. It has been proven that the more the brain is used for sports, the better it is stimulated. It improves your memory and even reduces the risk of dementia. Exercise increases the blood supply to the brain’s nerve cells, providing them with more nutrients. It keeps them healthy for longer.
4. Solving a problem
Sports activities that require little concentration are also excellent for solving problems. By making repetitive movements, such as you do when walking, cycling or rowing, you come to yourself for a moment. You can therefore concentrate better on a topic and think about solutions. And sports activities also have a positive effect on problem-solving capacity in the long term. A study of 5,000 children between the ages of eleven and sixteen found that those who engaged in sports for much longer than their schoolmates had better grades in math and physics.
Exercise is also good for the senses. When you exercise outside, you perceive sounds, smells, images, and soil conditions more intensively. If you do yoga, your minds are focused on breathing, postures, and the limits of your freedom of movement. And because of the increased blood circulation in the body during exercise, our five senses’ receptors also become more receptive to stimuli.
Sport is also a perfect outlet for those who are stressed. You can let off steam for a while by exercising. Especially when the sporting action is repetitive, it has a relaxing effect. So if you find it difficult to unwind after work in the evening and are often still in bed grinding about work, it is advisable to schedule a sports moment at the end of the working day, before dinner. This way, you go into the evening tidy and relaxed.