Nearly half of adult Americans will report having a mental health disorder at some point in their life.
In many cases, these disorders are associated with inactive lifestyles.
Depression, for example, is a stress-related condition reported by 33% of inactive adults. For some, depression is a serious disorder that physical activity alone will not cure; however, research indicates that activity, combined with other forms of therapy, can be effective.
Anxiety is an emotional condition characterized by worry, self-doubt, and apprehension.
Several studies have shown that symptoms of anxiety can be reduced by physical activity. In particular, low-fit people who do regular physical activity seem to benefit the most. In one study, one-third of people reported that regular activity helped them cope better with life's pressures.
It is no secret that physical activity is associated with better and more restful sleep.
People with insomnia seem to benefit from regular activity if it is not done too vigorously right before going to bed. One recent study found that 52% of the population felt that physical activity helped them sleep better.
One reason for this may be that regular aerobic activity is associated with reduced brain activation, which can result in a greater ability to relax or fall asleep.
Lastly, regular exercise can improve self-esteem. Improvements in fitness, appearance, and the ability to perform new skills can improve self-confidence.