Regular physical activity may reduce depression and anxiety and improve mood. Exercising may even be linked with enhancing creativity and imagination. The United States Surgeon General reports that exercise ‘reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression and fosters improvements in mood and feelings of well-being.'
Brief periods of intense training or moderate aerobic workouts can raise the levels of chemicals such as endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine in the brain. These chemicals produce the feelings of pleasure many people feel after working out. Research has shown that exercise may help improve the mood of people who are clinically depressed. Many people who are depressed have low levels of serotonin and exercise can help boost these levels.
Studies have also shown that moderate exercise such as brisk walking may help reduce the number of sleep disturbances in people who suffer from them. Exercise activities that focus on breathing, relaxation and meditation such as Yoga and Pilates may be especially helpful for combating stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness.