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Does exercise have an effect on mental Health? – Manipal Runners Club

We all know the importance of exercise on our physical health,how it helps us to maintain our body balance and is also beneficial for our cardiovascular system .Most people in the general population understand that regular exercise is beneficial to physical health. Now, new research suggests that it has equally important mental health benefits.

“The link between exercise and mood is pretty strong,” says Michael Otto, PhD, and professor of psychology at Boston University, in this months Monitor on Psychology. In the October 2011 issue of The American Psychologist, Roger Walsh describes exercise as healthy, inexpensive and underused to treat psychiatric disorders.

Exercise offers preventative and therapeutic psychological benefits. It can reduce the risk of depression and chronic pain, as well as neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Walsh’s review of the literature found that depression, anxiety, eating addictive disorders and body dysmorphic disorders are all responsive to exercise as an adjunct to treatment. Even some symptoms of schizophrenia can improve with exercise.

How does exercise effect the brain?

One theory is that exercise increases serotonin(a neurotransmitter targeted by antidepressants)levels. A second theory suggests exercise helps improve sleep. With better sleep, mood improves.

Other possible effects of exercise on the brain and mental functioning include the release of endorphins in the body (Endorphins are a chemical in the brain associated with positive mood); the break down of muscle tension through exercise can improve sleep and decrease physical pain and discomfort associated with depression; improvements in self-esteem, a feeling of accomplishment and feelings of self-worth; and an interruption of cycles of negative thoughts and rumination.

So whenever feel down ,just go out for a run and feel the difference.

This article was written by Bisruta Chowdhury

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