17 Scientific Benefits of Physical Activity for Mental Health

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Physical activity is well known has positive impact to the body fitness as well as mental health. Plato even mentioned that ‘‘On order for man to succeed in life, god provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body but for the two together. With these two means, men can attain perfection’’ Those phrase has deep meaning which explain that there is a link between physical activity with mental health.

Physical activity is also associated with a many health benefits, and the absence of physical activity can be very harmful to health and the fitness, increasing the risk of many disease such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancers, obesity, hypertension and all of those disease cause mortality.

Scientific Evidence

Based on WHO data it is reported the physical inactivity is the fourth-leading risk factor for global mortality and also responsible for 6% of deaths globally (around 3.2 million deaths per year ), including 2.6 million in low- and middle income countries, and 670,000 of these deaths are premature.

According to on some study by Department of Health in 2012 , researchers found that mental illness is the single largest cause of disability in the UK; one in four people will experience a mental illness in their lifetime and one in six experience symptoms at any one time. There is also a strong relationship between physical inactivity and metal illness

Health Benefits of Physical Activity and Mental Health

Physical activity and mental health promised a great and many benefits for life. These list of benefits are the best that we can achieve. Check these out

1. Reduce the risk of heart disease

Physical activity and mental health have been proved can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Study shown that physical activity as well mental health play significant role in maintaining healthy cardiovascular system. People who has physical inactivity can experience illness that is higher the stress and it give great impact to the heart function. Mental illness including depression can doubles the risk of coronary heart disease and leads to a 50% increase in the risk of mortality in adults.

2. Prevent diabetes

Diabetes usually comes along the physical inactivity. Sugar and other carbohydrate is the main energy source for the body but excessive consumption can lead to diabetes. By burning calorie from sugar through physical activity, its not only prevent the body from diabetes type 2 but also can improve mental health which later may affect to the whole body function.

3. Stay away from cancer

Cancer is sure resulted from unhealthy lifestyle including physical activity and mental illness such as stress. By not giving regular exercise to the body, you slightly increase the risk of develop cancer. The body will be weakened and free radicals will be easy to damage the cells and causing oxidative stress.

4. Reduce the risk of obesity

Obesity is just another epidemic global health problem and mostly suffer by American and western people. Physical activity and stress are ones among several factors which are the leading cause of obesity. Lack of exercise make the body hard to burn fat and just accumulate in under skin and stomach.

By having regular physical activity and improve mental health, you have manage your body to prevent obesity and stay away from serious disease such as diabetes and heart disease. According to a study from Luppino in 2010 obesity and mental health also develop two way relationship that obese people have a 55% increased risk of developing depression over time when compared to people of a healthy weight, and people with depression have a 58% increased risk of becoming obese.

5. Fight depression

Stress is one of mental illness which can lead to certain disease. A study reported that exercise training may reduce depressive symptoms in nonclinical and clinical populations. Physical activity including exercise is can be considered has same effect with anti-depressant. Physical activity can improve the level of certain stress-reliever hormone such as serotonine, dopamin and norephineprin. This may be the reason why people who used to exercised regularly are hardly to experience stress.

6. Reduce anxiety

Study by Strohle in 2005 reported that there is preliminary evidence that exercise has an antipanic activity in healthy subjects and can reduce anxiety (in patients with panic disorder syndrome, the syndrome of anxiety can be reduces after a several phase of physical activity. This maybe the effect of several factors such as hormonal and cardiovascular system.

7. Treat insomnia

Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorder. People who suffer insomnia are hardly to sleep. Insomnia may occur cause by unhealthy life style, sleeping pattern or stress and depression. Physical activity can improve mental health and relieve stress so it has great significant effect to people who suffer from insombia. Exercise will make you feel sleepy and you can experience better quality of sleep.

8. Prevent Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

Both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are chronic and severe mental disorder which can effect the personal thinking, behaviour and feeling of someone. Those mental illness usually occur between the age 16-30 and it may cause hallucination, delusions, unusual way of thinking and even worse can lead to movement disorder.

Improving physical activity and mental health by doing regular exercise can help you to prevent from those mental illness and make you healthier. Study by Department of Health found that Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder reduce life expectancy and increase the likelihood of obesity and diabetes.

9. Improve immune system

During exercise, body release several hormones and chemical substance which can improve the function of immune system. People with mental illness also may develop health problem that related to immune system. Usually people with physical activity has weaker immune system that make their body easily exposed by pathogen infection

10. Prevent high blood pressure

Being active and keep doing regular exercise can improve physical activity and mental health. It also can keep your blood pressure in normal condition. Physical activity and mental health play important role in the management of stress which belong to a cause that resulting high blood pressure.

11. Maintain healthy brain function

Physical activity and healthy mental let the body to release a hormone called β endhorphin which can stimulate brain function and keep the neural activity in the central nervous system. Physical inactivity and mental illness is really dangerous for brain health and can cause more serious brain disorder.

12. Prevent Alzheimer

As mentioned before that physical activity and mental health can maintain healthy brain function so it also means both of those factors can prevent you from Alzheimer (a condition of brain disorder in old age). Being active and having healthy mental can reduce the chance of depression and develop alzheimer by 50%. Just by walking regularly for 30 minutes everyday you can get this benefits

13. Increase good mood

Usually people who has good physical activity and healthy mental will have better mood. Exercise can also help you to feel better if you feel depress since it can realease the hormone that fight stress and depression also result in good mood. Healthier and normal blood flow after exercise will really increase the good mood and make you fit along the day.

14. Reduce cholesterol

Regular exercise is not only improve mental health and physical fitness but also reduce cholesterol from 13-73%. This is a good news since cholesterol is one of bad substances that the body should remove from the blood. Cholesterol can cause many disease including atherosclerosis and heart disease.

15. Increase self-confidence

People with active physical activity and healthy mental usually has healthier and better body than other which lack of physical activity and it increase their self-confidence. Physical inactivity can make people depressed especially to people with obese body and mental illness.

16. Promote longevity

Physical activity and mental health are the key of having longer life. Healthier body and organ function will support activities even when you get old. While stress and other mental illness usually give a great impact to someone life and its not a small number that some people died because of unhealthy mental. The case of mortality of mental illness people are high not only because they die of serious disease but some of them can manage the stress and choose to undergo suicide.

17. Improve social life

Depression and stress usually happen when people feel lonely. Having physical activity together with other people or friends can tackle the lonely feeling and get rid of mental illness. It also improve the ability of person to socialize with others.

Physical Activity and Mental Health Problem

Even they both provide you with some benefits, and it is suggested to do regular exercise, there are some condition that may become problem when you wanna improve your health. Some people may be obsessed with physical activity such as sport but having excessive exercise is also not good for your body and mental health. It also can cause overtraining syndrome which usually occur in some athletes. It also can cause Muscle dysmorphia, anorexia, the use of anabolic-androgenic steroids and mood disturbance.

How To Keep Physical Activity and Mental Health

Those benefits of physical activity and mental health can be improve by following these tips :

  • Do regular exercise and it depend your ability. Walking 30 minutes a day will be better to start exercise
  • You can do many sport and exercise that you like. It will not only increase your health but also the good mood.
  • Avoid excessive exercise and using anabolic-androgenic steroids. These may cause other health problem.
  • Try to do exercise with your partners or friends
  • Don’t forget to consume healthy diet and drink plenty water after exercise.

Understanding the benefits of physical activity and mental health benefits can be a reason for you to start being active and have healthier body