05 Nov 2017

The 10 Psychological Benefits of Practicing Physical Exercise

The benefits of practicing sports to improve the quality of life and health in general.

Many people join the gym to improve their cardiovascular health, to gain muscle or to have a movie body. However, there are other positive effects that we can achieve with the practice of regular physical activity, such as psychological benefits.
Psychological benefits when doing sports: practicing exercise is healthy for your mind!

During the last decades, researchers have been discovering how practicing exercise can improve our cognitive functions, and regardless of age or physical condition, studies have shown that dedicating time to exercise also produces many benefits for our mental wellbeing. "Regular exercising is good for humor, memory or learning, " explains psychiatrist John Ratey of Harvard Medical School, author of " The New and Revolutionary Science of Exercise and the Brain. "

If you get used to practicing daily or if you are one of those who has trouble putting on your tracksuit, pay attention to the following lines. Then, from Psychology and Mind, we present the 10 psychological benefits of practicing exercise.

1. Produces happiness chemistries

Running a few kilometers can be hard, but it's worth it! Exercise promotes the release of endorphins, chemical substances that produce a feeling of happiness and euphoria.
Studies have shown that they can even relieve symptoms of depression. For this reason, psychologists recommend that people suffering from depression or anxiety improve their quality of life including exercise in their lives. If you are not one of those people, who practice physical activity every day, with practicing three days a week for half an hour you can improve your mood instantly.

2. Reduce stress

After a hard day of work, there is nothing better than going to disconnect playing paddle tennis, stepping into the gym or running on the beach. One of the psychological benefits of practicing physical activity is that it reduces stress.
Also, exercise also increases the production of norepinephrine (norepinephrine), a chemical that can moderate the brain's response to stress. So put on your sports clothes and sweat a little bit, that exercise improves our body's ability to deal with the tension that stress produces after so much office and so many day-to-day worries.

3. Enhances self-esteem

Seeing yourself better physically will make you feel good. The continuous exercise will improve the image of yourself and improve your self-esteem. Regardless of weight, age or sex, physical activity can raise the positive perception of one's attractiveness, and consequently, make you value more.

4. Improve your social relationships

As the perception of yourself and your emotional health improve, your social relationships can also improve. Due to your increased self - confidence you will have more possibilities to reach others, and if you participate in directed classes or perform group sports, it is expected that you will meet new people.

5. Relieve anxiety

The neurotransmitters released during and after exercise can help people who suffer from anxiety to calm down. A bicycle ride or some medium or high-intensity aerobic exercise can reduce the symptoms that produce stress. Sport and activity, therefore, not only serve to burn fat or gain muscle.

6. Prevents cognitive deterioration

As we get older, the risk of suffering from degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's increases, especially after 45 years of age. Performing physical activity mainly between 25 and 45 years it is possible to increase the chemicals in the brain that prevent the degeneration of hippocampal neurons.
Also, practicing physical exercise on a regular basis and adapting the requirement for the elderly is associated with a lower risk of mortality. Mainly, as a consequence of a cardiovascular protective effect, physical activity decreases the risk of suffering a cerebral infarction and improves cognitive function by reducing the risk of suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's.

7. Improve your memory

Regular practicing exercise regularly improves your memory and the ability to learn new things, as it increases the production of hippocampal cells that are responsible for memory and learning. Research in this field positively relates the brain development of children with the physical condition of them.
This not only happens in the case of minors, but the elderly can also improve their training memory. A study by Winter and Breitenstein (2007) showed that performing sprints enhance the acquisition and retention of vocabulary in adults.

8. Increase your brain capacity

By exercising your brain produces more neurons and more connections between them, a phenomenon known as neurogenesis. Therefore, your mind will gain shape, and your learning capacity will increase.
In an investigation of Vaynman, Ying, and Gomez-Pinilla, it was demonstrated that intense training increases the levels of a protein known as BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) that is found in the brain, and that is believed to have a positive influence on the intake. Of decisions, in thinking and learning. To deepen this topic, we recommend that you read the article " 5 tricks to improve your intelligence ", by the psychologist Bertrand Reader.

9. It helps you be more productive

An investigation by Schwarz and Hasson (2011) concluded that workers who exercise or sport regularly are more productive and have more energy than their sedentary peers.
Also, if we go to practice sports at noon, in the lunch break, or before going to work, the activity will help us to stay more active throughout the day, avoiding moments of the slump or lack of attention in work.

10. Help control addiction

The brain releases dopamine (the reward neurotransmitter) in response to a pleasurable stimulus such as sex, drugs or food. Unfortunately, some people become addicted and dependent on the substances that produce their release in large quantities. The practice of exercise can help in the recovery of the addict because short sessions of training have a positive effect on addicts to alcohol or drugs by postponing "carving" (at least in the short term).

The abuse of alcohol also prevents normalcy in the life of the addict. A negative consequence of excessive consumption of this substance is that it interrupts circadian rhythms, and as a result, alcoholics have difficulty sleeping or staying asleep if they do not consume alcohol. Practicing exercise can help restart the biological clock and help you fall asleep.

In summary, physical exercise is natural, it is easy, it helps you to improve the quality of life, increases your self-esteem, prevents diseases and enhances your learning. After reading this, are you still going to want to give up these benefits?
The colleagues of the Technological University of Ecuador have made a video in which they explain to you in an audiovisual way the psychological benefits of practicing physical exercise.