How Exercise Can Boost Your Mental Health

You already know that exercise is beneficial for your health, but do you know how? From combating health conditions to improving mood, see how an active lifestyle can help you live a better life.

Exercising is beneficial to everyone, regardless of gender, age, or physical ability. When we exercise, our body undergoes a variety of changes. You may not feel the effect of exercise immediately, but with consistency, you will benefit from all the significant things your body does while being physically active. Here are some ways that exercise can lead to a healthier, happier you.

Exercise helps to control weight

Exercise is a great tool to help you maintain weight loss. Regular trips to the gym are very beneficial, and any amount of activity is preferable to none. In order to gain the benefits of exercise, try to stay active throughout the day. You can do this by choosing the stairs over the escalator, or by parking farther away in a parking lot. Just remember, consistency is key!

Combats adverse health conditions & diseases

Are you hoping to prevent high blood pressure? Concerned about heart disease? Regardless of your current weight, being active promotes high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, known as the “good” cholesterol, while also reducing unhealthy triglycerides. This helps to maintain smooth blood flow, which lowers your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Regular exercise can manage many health concerns, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Falls

Increases energy!

It may seem counterintuitive but exercising will provide you with extra daily energy. Of course, you will feel fatigued after physical activity, but that is only short-term. One of the most important benefits of exercising is that it increases blood flow throughout the body. This means that when you exercise, your cardiovascular system works more efficiently by delivering oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. In other words, your blood will absorb more oxygen, making you feel more energized.

Promotes better sleep

Struggling to sleep at night? Regular exercise can help you fall asleep sooner, get better sleep, and deepen your sleep. However, if you choose to exercise before bedtime, know that you may be too energized to go to sleep.

Boosts happy chemicals to improve mood

When you exercise, the brain releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Physical activity can even improve symptoms among the clinically depressed.

Increases brain power and sharpens memory

Participating in cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells (known as neurogenesis) and improve overall brain performance. So, when you take part in a vigorous workout, you are increasing levels of brain-derived protein, which is believed to help with decision making, learning, and higher thinking.

Mental strength is also a key for basic functions. When you engage in regular physical activity you can increase functions such as memory and the ability to learn new things. Getting sweaty increases the production of cells in the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory and learning. You may see an improvement in your short- and long-term memory, find it easier to concentrate and focus, and picking up new skills may become easier.

The Bottom Line:

Exercise is a great way to boost your overall body health and general sense of well-being. Ensuring that you engage in regular activity is a great way to enjoy these benefits and improve your quality of life.

For most healthy adults, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. Moderate exercise can include a brisk walk or biking. Vigorous exercise can include running or aerobic dancing. Weight bearing exercise, such as weight training, also strengthens bones and helps prevent osteoporosis.

Looking for ways to incorporate aerobic and strength training activities into your week? Fortë Fit ( offers classes in cycling, elliptical, dance, and other forms of cardio to complete your aerobic activity for the week. If you also want to work on weight bearing, Fortë Fit provides classes in strength training, HIIT, boxing and more!

Abou Elmagd, M. (2016). Benefits, need and importance of daily exercise. Int. J. Phys. Educ. Sports Health, 3(5), 22-27.

Written by Kimberly Reid

December 1, 2021