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  • Dr Sravani Bhavanam

Regular Exercise and its positive impact on mental health

How many of you have felt stressed out, anxious, or overwhelmed at work or in your personal life? How many of you have struggled with depression, lack of motivation, or low self-esteem?

I’m sure many of us relate to these feelings and situations. But what if I told you that there is a simple yet powerful solution that can help you overcome these challenges?

That solution is exercise!

Exercise isn't just about maintaining your physical health, it's also about boosting your mental health. Sure, it can help you stay in shape, lower your blood pressure, and prevent diabetes, but did you know that it can also work wonders for your mind? From alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety to sharpening your memory, the psychological benefits of exercise are boundless. So, if you thought exercise was just a means to a better body, think again - it's the ultimate mind-body workout!

Studies have shown that regular physical activity can have a profound impact on our mental health. It can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, boost self-esteem and motivation, improve sleep quality and cognitive function, and even prevent cognitive decline as we age.

When we engage in physical activity, our body releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones produced in the brain and spinal cord. Endorphins interact with the receptors in our brain and trigger positive feelings in the body, such as reducing pain and improving mood. That's why physical activity is often referred to as a natural mood booster and a stress reliever, especially in people suffering from depression Participating in group fitness classes or sports can be a great way to meet new people and develop a sense of belonging.

Regular exercise can do wonders for one's self-esteem and self-confidence. As we become more physically fit and see improvements in our endurance, strength, and body composition, we begin to feel better about ourselves and our abilities. This increase in self-esteem can have a positive ripple effect on many areas of our lives, from our personal relationships to our professional aspirations. By setting goals and working hard to achieve them through exercise, we develop the discipline and motivation to tackle other challenges in our lives. We learn to push through obstacles and setbacks and to keep striving towards our goals even when the going gets tough.

Regular exercise has also been found to have numerous benefits for individuals with ADHD. One of the main ways exercise helps to improve ADHD symptoms is by increasing the brain's levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin - neurotransmitters that play a crucial role in regulating mood, motivation, and attention. These chemicals help to increase focus and alertness, making it easier for individuals with ADHD to stay on task and concentrate for longer periods.

Despite all these benefits, why do so many of us still struggle to make exercise a priority in our lives? Is it because we don't have enough time, energy, or motivation? Or is it because we don't fully understand the importance of exercise for our mental health? I, being a medical student believe that it's a combination of both. We live in a fast-paced world where we are constantly bombarded with work, family, and social obligations, leaving little time for ourselves. And when we do have free time, we often choose to spend it on sedentary activities like watching TV or scrolling through social media.

But what if we made exercise a non-negotiable part of our daily routine? What if we treated it as a necessary prescription for our mental health, just like we do with medication for physical ailments? I implore you all to ask yourselves, what is holding you back from making exercise a priority in your life? Is it fear of failure, lack of support, or simply not knowing where to start? Whatever it may be, I urge you to take the first step towards a healthier mind and body by incorporating exercise into your daily routine. Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment for what you ate. Remember, exercise is not just about physical fitness, it's about mental wellness as well. It's about taking care of ourselves so that we can be our best selves for our loved ones and our communities. Make time to exercise and get time off from illness!

In closing, I want to leave you all with a quote by the famous American author, Mark Twain, "The secret of getting ahead is getting started." So let's take that first step towards a happier and healthier life through exercise. Let's lace up our sneakers and get moving. It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. ” The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow.”

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