A few years ago there was a knock on the door in which physical activity is promoted on all sides, and we hear about the benefits of physical activity on every segment of an individual’s life almost daily. It seems as though there are no portals, magazines or other media content that to a greater or lesser extent does not specifically address physical activity and, as it is popularly called, a “healthy lifestyle”. Local, national, and international prevention programs that include promoting and highlighting the importance of physical activity have seen a rapid increase in recent years (in the US and for several decades), so it’s unlikely you have encountered slogans like “living healthy,” ” run “,”Active Croatia “and the like.

Regular physical activity undoubtedly has a positive effect on the physical health of the individual, prevents various diseases and conditions, prolongs life and improves its quality. Reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, type II diabetes and many other chronic non-communicable diseases is just one, by no means negligible, segment of the benefits that physical activity entails.

In addition to the evident benefit that our body, or physical health, has from physical activity, there is also the increasingly mentioned positive effect that physical activity has on the human psyche, ie mental health. You have certainly noticed that after every workout you feel better, no matter how hard it is to get yourself to the gym or gym, in the end you will always be happy and proud of yourself for doing the workout. That feeling that a quality workout manages to create can be compared to a feeling of complete well-being, satisfaction, flight or relief. After each training session, we try to memorize that fulfilling feeling so that we can more easily motivate ourselves for the next one. After a while, we no longer have a problem with motivation because we are very aware of that feeling that will overwhelm us after training.

But let’s not just talk about “that feeling” after training, let’s take a closer look at what exactly is going on in our body during and after training, what causes that “feeling” and what all “that feeling” is made of. To begin with, it is important to mention the mechanisms of physiological and biochemical origin, and they are responsible for the psychological benefits of physical activity. Exercise raises the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, which are responsible for a positive mood and reduction of depressive symptoms. Higher amounts of endorphin, which has both analgesic and anxiolytic activity, euphoria and mood effects, are also excreted. In addition to hormonal balance, one should also mention the pyrogenic hypothesis, namely the fact that exercise raises your body temperature and thus improves mood. Physical activity, in addition to the above, reduces the somatic and cognitive aspects of tension, neuromuscular tension and persistent thoughts predominate.

It is clear to us, therefore, that physical activity improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression and negative moods, and improving self-esteem and cognitive functioning. In addition, it is very important to emphasize that physical activity has a positive effect on self-esteem and self-esteem as a crucial component of one’s mental well-being, while reducing the risk of social withdrawal.

It is interesting to note that some studies have shown that structured physical activity had similar effects on depressed patients as psychotherapy! Therefore, physical activity is considered to be a key component in the biopsychosocial approach to treating persons with mental health problems.

The benefits of physical activity on mental health are clearly numerous. Now that we are a little familiar with some of the processes that take place in our body as a result of exercise, we can single out some of the “concrete” benefits that it brings to us. Some of these are better and better quality sleep, stress relief, a more positive mood, increased energy levels, decreased fatigue and greater mental alertness, greater interest in sex and better endurance, and many others.

Still not motivated enough? Read it again!