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Exercises & Mental Health by Roger Franco

Regular physical activity has been scientifically proven to improve physical health by preventing metabolic diseases such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia and heart attacks. In addition, the benefits of physical activity go beyond disease prevention. Regular physical activity significantly improves mental health by reducing anxiety, stress, and depression. Yet despite the physiological and psychological benefits of regular physical activity, most people do not exercise.

Anxiety and depression are widespread problems in today’s society. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression and one in thirteen suffer from anxiety. Studies show that regular physical activity can be as effective as taking medication in treating anxiety and depression.

When combined with healthy eating habits, exercise can not only prevent metabolic disorders and cardiovascular disease, but also prevent or reduce stress, anxiety and depression. In addition, regular exercise can also improve mood, regulate sleep patterns, increase energy levels and boost self-esteem.

Exercise improves mental health by increasing blood circulation and thus oxygenation of brain tissue, and by increasing levels of serotonin, dopamine and endorphin, the hormones responsible for happiness and joy. In addition, exercise regulates the hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which are associated with the fight-or-flight response. When these hormones are too high, they cause stress and anxiety and affect sleep, among other health problems.

Many exercises, such as lifting weights, running, cycling, swimming, boxing or dancing, can benefit physical and mental health. A regular morning jog on the beach can improve mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and bring many other psychological benefits. However, if you are starting to exercise again after a break or are unsure how to begin your fitness journey, seeking professional help is a great option. An experienced personal trainer can guide you safely and effectively, and help you get the most out of your workout.

Most gyms offer a wide range of equipment and workout modalities that can be used for an effective workout. In addition to strength training, group fitness classes such as cycling, dancing or any type of aerobics can improve mood and relieve stress. For those who do not like to spend time in a gym, exercising outdoors and with your own body weight is also an excellent option.

Although exercise is considered something we do for our bodies, it is also an activity we do for our brains. Give yourself a chance to feel the benefits of exercise. If you have had a stressful day at work, go for a walk on the beach or in the park and watch the sunset. I guarantee you will feel much better!

For more information, visit

Address: 1259 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Words by Roger Franco, Assistant Fitness Manager at Crunch Fort Greene, NYC.

Images courtesy of Crunch


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