What Is the Connection Between Exercise and Mental Health?
Historically, men have been encouraged to ignore their mental health. Here’s the thing though; even if your sole purpose of working out is to improve your physique, you’re still getting major mental health benefits. Evidence shows that exercise works on the brain in similar ways to antidepressants. It boosts serotonin and norepinephrine, subdues our ‘flight or flight’ response to reduce stress, and releases the naturally-occurring opioids in our bodies known better as endorphins. What’s more, it may even create new brain cells.
So if you’ve decreased or even stopped exercising because of aches and pains, your mental health is also taking a hit. It may be time to ease up on doing purely strengthening exercises that overwork your muscles and consider adding something like Pilates to your regimen. “Though marketed primarily to women, Pilates is very effective for building deep core strength in men,” says Ron Jegadeesh, Pilates Instructor, Physical Therapist, and owner of Pilates Fitness & Physical Therapy Center in Southfield. “The intentional but challenging movements in Pilates are great for counteracting muscular imbalances that are often associated with aches and pains.” Less physical AND emotional pain? Who wouldn’t want that?