Mental health is so important because it affects all aspects of life. Mental health affects the way we think, feel, and act. Our mental and physical health both play a part in our overall health and wellbeing. Research shows that 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 5 children currently struggle with their mental health. It is important to not only take care of our physical health, but also our mental health. Exercise is part of that process.

First of all, our mental health has an effect on the body. Studies show that depression and anxiety can change the way that the digestive tract works/functions, change the ability to get the right amount of sleep, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, calcium build-up, and overall life expectancy. Because of the extensive impact that mental health has on the body it is important that we are taking the necessary steps to work toward good mental health. A great way to help with our mental health is to exercise.

Exercise helps decrease the amount of stress receptors of the hippocampus. This means that the brain will not be as affected by the stress hormone, cortisol. Exercise also has another effect too. Exercising releases endorphins that act on opiate receptors in the brain. This causes a euphoric feeling or sensation which can lead to reduced feelings that are involved in anxiety and depression. Similarly, exercising can release dopamine, which works in the brains reward system. Once dopamine is released it gives a sense of pleasure.

Exercising can also help give confidence. Exercising can give us goals to work towards and make us feel better in our own skin. Exercising can also help us socialize and to get involved. There are many different ways we can exercise including aerobics groups, yoga, dancing, walking, jogging, running, lifting weights, sports, etc.… The great thing about all of these is that we can do them with other people. We were not created to be alone so exercising is a great way of meeting new people and being in community with them. Exercising also helps us cope with our stress in a healthier way.

Exercising will not take away all of our problems, but it can defiantly help or reduce some of the symptoms. The great thing about Care to Change is that we offer both therapy and ways to exercise through yoga. Here at Care to Change we find it very important to have all around healthy lifestyle. For more information visit our website.

—Written by a guest author student, Travious Huether

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