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4 Ways Exercise Improves Your Mental Health

Dan Western



4 Ways Exercise Improves Your Mental Health

Not to sound like an infomercial, but are you unhappy in life?

Do you lack self-confidence? Do you want to get healthier?

There is a way to do it, and it doesn’t involve sending $19.95 off for a cheesy gadget. All you need to do to improve these parts of your life is exercise. As the new year comes around, it is the perfect time to begin a list of resolutions.


4 Ways Exercise Improves Your Mental Health

Don’t worry about writing out a long list of every single thing you want to change about yourself. Keep it simple. Write down one word – “Exercise,” and watch how doing that one thing can improve so many other aspects of your life.

Did you know that exercising does more than just help to keep you physically fit?

In addition to giving you a better, healthier body, exercise also benefits your mental health and brain power, including reducing anxiety and symptoms of depression while at the same time increasing cognitive ability.


1. Exercise Makes You Happy

Exercising releases endorphins in your body. Endorphins are chemicals in your body, produced by the central nervous system, that not only help diminish pain but also trigger positive feelings.

The feeling you get isn’t just a short time high that disappears as soon as the adrenaline wears off.

Regular exercise can produce long-term psychological benefits. Regular exercise will put a smile on your face, and leave you feeling better and more confident after every workout.

Exercising an excellent way to do physical therapy for mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety. In many parts of Europe, doctors have patients try to exercise as a way to manage their depression, before prescribing drugs.

A gym membership is cheaper than a prescription for Prozac.

This approach may not work for those with people suffering from more severe chemical imbalances, but for many, it works wonders. Even for those who still need medication or counselling, exercise will help boost the effectiveness of those treatments.


2. Exercise Reduces Stress

Stress is one of the biggest killers in the US.

It contributes to weight gain, (which comes with its list of health problems) high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, and over a prolonged period, stress can cause a long-lasting and adverse impact on mental health.

Much of our daily stress is unavoidable. High-pressure jobs like law enforcement, medicine, or working in any highly competitive field can drive up stress levels.

Add to this the daily stress producing aggravations like driving through rush hour traffic, that one neighbor, or the wobbly shopping cart. It’s no wonder why so many of us are ticking time bombs ready to explode.

Exercise helps to reduce and eliminate stress, much in the same way it makes you happier via endorphins. It’s an excellent coping mechanism.

Exercise also increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress. The endorphins help fight stress and anxiety and contribute to making you calmer.

A good workout leaves you thinking more logically, without all the negative emotions clouding your judgment.

Running on a treadmill or lifting weights is almost meditative.

It allows your mind to turn inward, and get away from any worries or problems that are bouncing around in there. If you want to take it to the next level, work actual meditation into your workout routine.


3. Exercise Improves Self-Confidence

Self-confidence is a major deciding factor in how successful we are in life.

Just believing that we can do something is often enough to see it done, even if that goal lies at the end of a long hard road. Life is a mind game, and the more self-confidence you have, the healthier your mental state.

Exercise helps build up your self-esteem. When you exercise, you are accomplishing a task, and you also see yourself improve mentally and physically. You feel better about the way you look and the way you feel. Both things build confidence.

Exercise lets you discover that your body is capable of amazing feats, and it allows you to see yourself become stronger. A great activity to help manifest this self-confidence boost doing free weight exercises.

With this exercise, you are completely in charge—you chose a number of weights, a number of reps, and the type of weight lifting you do. It’s also a good measure of progress.

Do weight training for six months, and then go back and see how effortlessly you can lift the amount of weight you started with. You will feel like a superhero.

Typically, you will need a spotter with you, not only for safety but also to give you another boost of self-confidence.


4. Exercise Builds Brainpower

Science has proven that the mind and body are not two separate entities.

One affects the other, and physical performance very often reflects mental performance – Stephen Hawking not with standing. When you exercise, more blood is sent to the brain, allowing clearer thoughts and connections.

It also helps to improve your memory due to the release of endorphins that stimulates the encoding, storing, and retrieving of information in your brain. Think about the way exercise reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.

These things can clutter the mind.

Let’s say that you are stressed out and anxious about a big presentation you have to give at work the next day. All those worries are your mind wasting energy, and even though you know this, your mind might be too preoccupied with those negative thoughts to stop them.

Exercise can give you a way to stop them. So, instead of dwelling on the negative, you can focus on the positive like ways to make that presentation even better.



Give 2017 the best start both physically and mentally by adding exercise into your daily routine. You will see an improvement in all aspects of your life within a short couple of weeks.

By exercising, not only will you be improving your physical health and physique, but you will also improve your mental health, becoming happier, smarter, and more relaxed. Find that little speck of motivation to get started, and let it fly.

You’ll soon discover that success leads to more success, so keep it up and see just how amazing a good exercise routine will make 2017.

Have any other ways in which exercise improves your mental health? Leave a comment below.

Dan Western is the founder of Wealthy Gorilla. Dan has been running Wealthy Gorilla and studying self-development, personal finance and investment for the last 7 years, whilst traveling the world and being able to call Bali, Indonesia, his HQ. To this day, Wealthy Gorilla has become one of the fastest growing self-development sites in the world; with over 160 million views worldwide, and more than 200,000 followers on social media. Dan's mission is simply, to inspire others to live their dreams and be the person to whom they say; "Because of you, I never gave up."



  1. Harinder Gautam

    Feb 21, 2017 at 6:08 am

    Once Again,
    Thanks, Dan, though we knew a maximum of it, but when you wrote all these things in so interactive way, it’s like we knew but now we understand it, so it Great thanks Dan for making me understand the importance of exercise in a life.

    Now Gradually I’ll try my best to be in continuity with my exercise.

  2. leke sonde

    Mar 29, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    These article are simply written but powerful and helpful one. thanks

  3. Vic Smith

    Mar 29, 2017 at 9:41 pm

    The point about clutter in the mind is so true. Exercise will help to acknowledge those negative thoughts and just let them go.

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