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October 7, 2022
5 Surprising Benefits Of Movement For Mental Health

Shift Team

Move For Mental Wellness Campaign with 3 ladies moving their bodies with a sunset behind them.

Why Move For Mental Wellness

There are a surprising number of benefits to movement for mental health, mental wellness, and overall physical health. For starters, regular physical activity has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress levels. It’s also linked to improved mood, reduced rates of depression, and better sleep habits. 

In addition, movement has also been shown to improve cognitive function and memory. Finally, regular movement has been linked with a decreased risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease and obesity. Read on to learn five ways that movement can help you!

1. Movement can improve mood and relieve stress

Movement is a natural way to cope with stress. When we are stressed, our bodies release adrenaline and cortisol, which can lead to anxiety and agitation. Movement can help counteract these feelings by stimulating the release of endorphins and reducing cortisol levels in the brain. 

Regular physical activity has also been linked to increased self-esteem, better mental health habits, and reduced rates of depression, among others. Physical activity promotes positive body image and builds healthy coping mechanisms.

2. Movement can help reduce anxiety and depression

Anxiety is characterized by a feeling of uneasiness or worry that lasts for more than an hour. By engaging in physical activity, people can break the negative cycles of stress, anxiety, or depression. Physical activity has been shown to increase endorphins, which are hormones that have mood-lifting properties. This can help people feel happier and less stressed, which is essential for mental well-being.

3. Movement can increase cognitive function and memory 

Cognitive function refers to the abilities that allow us to think logically, solve problems, and learn new information. Movement has been shown to improve cognitive function in adults by increasing blood flow to the brain. In children, movement can help develop literacy skills, problem-solving abilities, spatial awareness, coordination skills, agility, balance, and strength.

A recent study found that even a short bout of physical activity (such as walking or jumping) could improve the memory performance of adults with mild memory impairment. 

The study showed that people who completed 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise performed better on a short-term memory test than those who did not exercise at all. The findings suggest that even a brief exercise routine may be enough to improve the overall cognitive function of people with mild memory impairment.

4. Movement can improve sleep quality and quantity

In both adults and children, regular movement is associated with improved sleep patterns—including reduced wakefulness during the night, better quality sleep, and decreased daytime tiredness. Movement also promotes healthy brain development by enhancing neural plasticity.

5. Movement can decrease the risk of chronic disease

Movement has been shown to reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Scientists have found that movement can help regulate blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of obesity. 

Move For Mental Wellness

At Shift, your well-being is always top of mind. Why? Because we believe that you can find a better version of yourself when you have a community of people who genuinely care about you (that's us!). Shift would like to officially invite you to join our community event — Move For Mental Wellness!

From virtual wellness classes to online seminars and daily personal tasks, this Canada-wide event is designed to help you nourish your physical and mental well-being by indulging in different types of movement. Join our FREE events from Oct 11-26, 2022 to feel the benefits of movement for yourself.

This article was written by Jessica Holmes, Marketing Director at Shift Collab.

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