Everyone has those days where you feel like you are one with your mattress. Finding the energy and motivation to get up and get going for the day can be hard. Did you know that exercise can actually help lift your spirits, help you get more sleep, and have more energy?
You just have to get up and go!
Exercise has a multitude of benefits for your physical health but many don’t realize that exercise is an excellent tool to improve your cognitive and mental health. This is important for people of all ages. “One study examined over 10,000 Harvard University alumni over the course of over 20 years and found that rates of depression over time were linked to the amount of physical activity that these alumni reported. Likewise, in a study of adolescents, 16% of those who were not physically active developed an anxiety disorder over a 4-year period, compared to half that rate among those whose who exercised regularly (Otto & Smits, 2011).”
In addition to exercise improving mood, exercise can improve the overall quality of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recently found that regular exercise can improve sleep quality by up to 65%. There are also benefits to less leg cramps and increased concentration during the day just by exercising regularly (National Sleep Foundation, 2015). “Our findings demonstrate a link between regular physical activity and perceptions of sleepiness during the day, which suggests that participation in physical activity on a regular basis may positively influence an individual’s productivity at work, or in the case of a student, influence their ability to pay attention in class (National Sleep Foundation, 2015).” These findings are based off of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Guidelines for Physical Activity. Too much exercise can have the reverse effect so don’t over train!
What does all this mean?
Essentially, by exercising you can be in a better mood, feel more awake, and sleep better at night. This is in addition to improving your physical health as well. Make sure you keep moving- your body and your mind will thank you!
Blog post by Nikki Courtney.
National Sleep Foundation. (2015). Study: Physical activity impacts overall quality of sleep. Retrieved from https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/study-physical-activity-impacts-overall-quality-sleep
Otto, M., & Smits, J. (2011). Exercise for mood and anxiety proven strategies for overcoming depression and enhancing well-being. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.