Given the fact that the word “physical” is in the term physical therapy, it makes sense that the majority of your focus will be on improving your physical health. However, striving to overcome an injury or working to become more physically fit can also have a number of positive effects on your mental health and well-being. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at how physical therapy and exercise can help improve your mental health.
Why Physical Therapy Benefits Your Mental Health
Physical therapy and exercise can improve your mental health in a variety of ways. Here’s why you may notice an improvement in your mental health if you’re pursuing exercise or physical therapy more regularly.
- Releases Endorphins – Exercise and movement leads to the release of endorphins in your body. Endorphins are oftentimes referred to as the “feel good” neurotransmitters, which can elevate and improve your mood and overall well-being.
- Cortisol Control – Exercise has also been shown to help control cortisol levels in our body. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, and elevated levels can leave a person feeling stressed, tense or anxious. By exercising and getting healthy blood pumping around our body, we can actually help to manage cortisol levels that could be contributing to our mental health issues.
- The Byproduct Of Progress – Mental health improvements also tend to go hand in hand with the physical progress that you see by regularly pursuing exercise and physical therapy. If you stick with your program, odds are you’ll start to notice that you’re running faster, going farther, doing more repetitions or regaining more function in an injured or surgically-addressed part of your body. This clear progress not only helps to improve your mental mindset, but it leaves you wanting to keep making progress in the future. Success breeds success, so if you’re committed to making progress with a physical therapy routine, these physical improvements will also lead to mental and emotional improvements as you witness your own progress.
- Developing A Routine – Research has also found that developing a healthy or physically rewarding routine can be beneficial for our mental health. You may feel like there are a number of aspects of your life that you don’t have a lot of control over, but you can control the effort you put forth towards an exercise or physical therapy routine. If you’re working to control what you can control, your mental health can improve because you know that you are doing what you can to make the best of your situation.
- Sleep Improvements – Exercise has also been shown to help regulate your sleep schedule, and healthy sleep is very important for your mental health.
- Return To Activity – Finally, physical therapy can help you make physical improvements so that you can get back to enjoying all the activities that you love. Being unable to bike, swim, run or just be physically active due to pain or discomfort can have a negative effect on your quality of life, but working to overcome these challenges with the help of a physical therapist can improve your mental health by allowing you to do all these activities once again.
If you want help developing a physical therapy or exercise routine that can help to improve your physical and mental health, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today at (612) 339-2041.