How does exercise build confidence and boost self-esteem? by Kate Christie
Instinctively we know that exercise makes us feel good, that having a strong body equals a strong mind. We know that exercising and being active boosts our moods but why is this the case? I mentioned in my first blog post a feeling of empowerment that came from exercising, in particular from taking part in obstacle course races (OCRs) but I often wonder why it makes me feel that way? There have been many studies done in this area but there’s not much scientific proof out there confirming what we instinctively know.
Recently research has emerged proving the link between physical activity and improved mental health.
In a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in October last year (2017) the results show that even small amounts of exercise can protect against depression, with mental health benefits seen regardless of age or gender. In the largest and most extensive study of its kind, the analysis involved 33,908 Norwegian adults who had their levels of exercise and symptoms of depression and anxiety monitored over 11 years.
The research team found that 12 percent of cases of depression could have been prevented if participants undertook just one hour of physical activity each week. We also know for sure that regular physical activity lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol and reduces blood sugar. Exercise reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, some cancers, osteoporosis and fractures, and obesity.