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How does exercise affect your mind and mood?

Engaging in regular exercise is a great health strategy to improve your physical fitness. It helps to keep your bones, joints and muscles healthy.

Aerobic activities strengthen your heart and lower the risk of developing osteoporosis.

Not all the benefits associated with regular exercise are physical, and you may be wondering, "How does exercise affect your mind and mood?"

Use the free Fitness Report Card to see where you stand, and where you want to go, now!

Exercising is something that is recommended for most people. Finding time to get physical during your day can be challenging, but doing so can pay off in several ways.

For one thing, exercising makes the body produce endorphins, which are known as the "feel good" hormone.

If you can't schedule a workout session at once then think about ways that you can increase your level of physical activity in smaller increments.

Exercising for 10 minutes at a time will help you look and feel better, and you can start with something simple like parking a little further from your destination so that you walk more.

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator will give you more physical activity in your day, too. Set your alarm a few minutes earlier so that you can stretch or do some yoga.

How does exercise affect your focus and concentration?

When a person exercises, chemical changes occur in his or her brain. Levels of dopamine and serotonin increase which make you feel calm and happy.

When you are in this emotional state you are able to focus on tasks better and pay attention for longer periods of time.

Being able to think more clearly and focus gives the morale a boost, which encourages you to continue with the activity.

In studies conducted on children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) at school, a link between exercise and improved ability to pay attention was noted. Participants who ran for between 15-45 minutes before class started were able to stay seated longer than those who did not exercise. These positive effects were observed for between two and four hours after the workout session.

How does exercise affect depression?

People who are living with depression have described this condition like being in fog or a pit. It robs them of the ability to muster the energy or enthusiasm to enjoy everyday life. For some sufferers, simply getting out of bed is challenging. This emotional disorder also affects memory, leaving the individual struggling to deal with everyday functions.

Research studies have shown that people who exercise while depressed report feeling better after a single workout session. They reported feeling less angry, tired and tense after engaging in some physical activity.

How does exercise affect anxiety?

Anxiety is a related disorder to depression. Instead of feeling down or low, the individual with this type of mood issue may report feeling tense or worried insofar as they are unable to keep their concerns in perspective. Along with this feeling of unease, the individual may be jumpy or irritable.

A person with an anxiety disorder may also find it hard to focus on a task. They may be easily startled or experience muscle tension, nausea or have trouble getting to sleep or sleeping through the night.

The same benefits of exercising regularly that benefit those living with depression can help a person with anxiety issues. The individual who is exercising regularly is changing their brain chemistry. When serotonin and dopamine levels increase, the affected person naturally feels calmer and more in control.

These two brain chemicals curb the "fight or flight" instinct that anxiety triggers. They can get a better perspective on the issues and stresses in their lives and can start to work on dealing with the issue rather than going into a panic. A person who is very stressed out will find it very challenging to come up with a solution to the thing that is worrying them.

Regular exercise has a number of health benefits. It helps to keep the physical body fit by burning fat and helping to build muscle which in turn burns more fat even when the individual is at rest.

Exercise also has numerous positive benefits for the mood and the mind. It helps to improve focus and provides the individual with a longer attention span. Other benefits of physical activity include a calmer, more positive outlook due to changes in the brain chemistry associated with this activity. The first step is to commit to a plan. Use the free workout plan finder and get started improving your mood, mind and body, now!