When you look in the mirror after an intense workout session, you’ll see how your sweat gave you a rockin’ bod. You should know that you’re not seeing everything in the mirror. Up in your head, your mental space is so much better through exercise – that’s scientifically proven too.

Get a boost of endorphins

A punishing 5 mile run on the treadmill can squeeze the life out of you, and while you’ve lost a few hundred calories you’re gaining something too. During the course of exercise, you’re releasing endorphins that create the feeling of happiness and euphoria. Doctors suggest that their patients suffering from depression or anxiety take up a sport hit the gym or spare a few minutes of their day for physical activity, which studies suggest are just as effective as antidepressant pills to treat depression. It doesn’t mean completely ditching your meds, it complements to your existing treatment. 

Maintain mental stimulation

A fact that comes with aging is that as we grow older, our mental capacity is decreased. It doesn’t help that we’re susceptible degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s kills off memory and eventually, one’s ability to live and function independently. Exercising may not cure Alzheimer’s, it can put off the mental decline that begins once you hit 45. Working out when you’re 25-45 boosts the chemicals that support and prevent the degeneration of the hippocampus, the center of the brain’s memory and learning.

Improve your memory

It sounds weird, but getting sweaty helps improve your memory. Perspiration actually increases the production of cells responsible for memory and learning found in the hippocampus. Let your kid play during recess time – research actually found a link between the level of physical fitness with brain development. And it’s not just for the kids. You’re more likely to improve and retain vocabulary if you’re running sprints.

Curb your addiction

The feeling of pleasure washes over you during the release of dopamine, the hormone responsible for making you feel good- whether from sex, drugs, alcohol, food or exercise. Some people enjoy it too much they get addicted and end up getting dependent on a pleasure boost. While dopamine is released during exercise, it can help curb it too. There’s been a study conducted on alcoholics which found out that intense, short sessions of exercise are a good distraction from cravings. 

Unleash your creativity

Exercising comes in various forms, and much of these like sports get you to interact with people. Even if you’re at a gym you’re rarely exercising alone. Which is good for your mental health. Being better than your workout buddy – running more laps, having faster times  – the competition keeps you motivated. 

Enjoy the fun of the outdoors

When the stress of work and home life gets too much, sometimes all you need is a breath of fresh air and a change in scenery. Let the scenery distract your thoughts and soak up the sun –  the Vitamin D actually lessens your likelihood of developing depressive symptoms.

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