12 MENTAL Health Benefits of EXERCISE


Some of the overlooked benefits of exercise include the mental health benefits that accompany a healthy and active lifestyle.  Whether you run, walk, exercise, train, weight lift or play sports, the mental health benefits of being active are well documented.

The Fast Company recently published an article called: “3 Reasons Exercise Makes You Smarter” and explains that your brain is a part of your body. Your body works better with exercise–and, research suggests, so does your brain.  Scientific American’s Justin Rhodes (assistant professor of psychology at the University of Illinois) reports: “A growing body of evidence suggests we think and learn better when we walk, jog, or otherwise workout”.  According to these recent studies, exercise boosts your cognitive functioning and improves your memory.  The keys include blood flow, your hippocampus (memory and learning elements in your brain) and creative habit.


According to the Scientific American study:


“The results were, in certain aspects, a surprise. As expected, many of the volunteers who’d been exercising for the past month significantly improved their scores on the memory and mood tests. But not all of them did. In general, those volunteers who had exercised for the past month and who worked out on the day of retesting performed the best on the memory exam. They also tended to report less anxiety than other volunteers.


Those who had exercised during the preceding month but not on the day of testing generally did better on the memory test than those who had been sedentary, but did not perform nearly as well as those who had worked out that morning.”


12 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise Infographic


We’ve tried to summarize the top 12 mental health benefits of exercise in this infographic.  Enjoy!


Exercise Will Make You Feel Better!

Exercising released endorphins, making you feel happy and positive about yourself.  Don’t we all want that?


Exercise is an Overall Mood Booster!

Exercising regularly will release tension.  This translates into solved problems with depression and stress.


Exercise Leads to Increased Confidence

When you exercise and relieve that tension while taking care of yourself, you can’t help but be proud of your accomplishments.  You feel like a brand new you, and you know you look good doing so.


Exercise Helps Your Body Increase Pain Tolerance

Exercise can make you sore many times.  At first it might be horrible, but after it happens a few times you learn to deal with it.  This leads to an overall increase in your pain threshold.


Exercising Works To Improve Your Brain Power!

Exercise causes your body to create more brain cells and connections.  This means your brain becomes more powerful and has a greater capacity for learning regardless of your age.


Exercise Improves Your Character

Sticking to an exercise routine will help you develop the qualities of discipline, dedication and determination.


Exercise Teaches Self Discipline

It also helps you develop the skills of compliance and adherence.  These absolutely necessary life skills will have a positive effect in all areas of your life.


Exercise Can Help With Addiction Recovery

As mentioned above, exercise can help you to developer discipline.  Overcoming addictions can become a lot easier when a workout routine is in place.


Exercise Also Combats Depression

Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in your brain.  Exercises induce “happy chemicals” to be produced more abundantly.


Fitness Reduces Anxiety

Using your energy in an effective way helps you to relax better.


Exercise Gives You ‘Runner’s High’

That’s right!  Vigorous exercise can make you feel great!


Exercise Improves Concentration

Exercise can help boost your concentration and mental awareness.

INFOGRAPHIC > The Impact Exercise On Heart Health

Did you know? The major risk factors for heart disease include: tobacco use, physical inactivity, obesity, poor diet and genetics? Over 250,000 deaths occur each years as a result of inactivity! People with active lifestyles through exercise, training and working out have a 45% lower risk of developing heart disease then someone who doesn’t. Benefits occur even with low intensity exercise like walking or jogging. Now that is a major impact of exercise on your heart health!
The Impact of Exercise on Heart Health

Exercise Benefits the Heart in Many Ways

There are 3 major health benefits to exercise when it comes to heart health. Here are the 3 great main benefits in no particular order:

#1 | Exercise Improves Strength

The heart is a muscle, and gets stronger with exercise. Exercise also enables the heart to pump more blood through the body when required. In addition, exercise lowers resting heart rate as the heart is now more efficient in moving blood through your systems when required.


#2 | Exercise Has Positive Effects on Risk Factors

Some of the great health benefits of exercise and training include: reduction in blood pressure and weight loss. As well, other positive effects on risk factors include an increase in good cholesterol and decrease in bad cholesterol in our blood stream. This helps in reducing heart disease and heart attacks.


#3 | Exercise Increases Aerobic Capacity

Being active will improve your body’s ability to transport and use oxygen. As well, exercise will reduce fatigue when performing every day activities. Training will also improve vascular wall function.


Let’s Get Moving and Exercise!

Here are some easy ways to incorporate training and exercise into your daily routine. Firstly, take stairs and not the elevator if you’re at work. This burns 7 calories per minute for a 150 pound person and for an extra exercise boost, take 10 minutes on your lunch break to go up and down stairs in your work building. Secondly, you can try biking to work instead of driving or taking public transit. A half hour commute on the bike burns about 140 calories for a 150 pound person. You will get fresh air, and help your health and the environment at the same time! If you are biking in the sun, you’ll get your daily required dose of Vitamin D as well! Thirdly, sit on an exercise ball at work. By doing so (instead of sitting stationary on a chair), you can burn an additional 30 calories per work day. Use the exercise ball for quick training breaks too. Lastly, walk to lunch or coffee. A leisurely 10 minute walk burns about 50 calories. Grab a co-worker to join you and pick up the pace!
This Impact of Exercise on Your Heart Health Infographic is brought to you by the Regional Medical Center of San Jose. Thank you!

Everything You Need To Know About Calories > Ultimate Calorie Infographic

Thanks to your friends at LifeQuotes4U, here is the ultimate calorie infographic that explains: what a calorie is, calorie recommendations, examples in fast food and take-out meals and how calories are burned in exercise and through sport. It’s a real eye-opener!



The calorie infographic above gives you an idea of how calories are measured and how they are burned (or not burned) off through fitness and exercise.  Just Add Good Stuff believes that it is important for all of us to be more aware of what we are putting in and on our bodies and understanding what calories are and where they come from is essential in controlling our nutrition and diet.  It’s up to us to make sure that we are feeding ourselves with nutritional foods and not empty calories.  As mentioned in this calorie infographic, a calorie is the approximate amount of energy that is required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius.  The term ‘calorie’ was first used in 1824 as a unit of measurement of heat.  It has now come to be used as a unit of measurement of the energy contained within food and drink.  When you look at labels, cal (all lower case) is 1 small calorie.  This is NOT to be confused with Cal (with a capital ‘C’) which is equivalent to 1000 small calories (cal).  The Cal is also known as the kcal (or kilocalorie).  Remember that most packaging labels use cal and NOT kcal or Cal.


The Ultimate Guide to Calories Infographic


Calorie Recommendations according to…

As you see in this calorie infographic, the NHS (Great Britain) recommends that the average man requires 2,500 Calories per day.  The average woman, in comparison, requires only 2,000 Calories per day. On the other hand, the USA Government recommendations for daily Calorie intake is as follows:

2-3 Years Old = 1,000 Cal for males | 1,000 Cal for females

4-8 Years Old = 1,400 Cal for males | 1,200 Cal for females

9-13 Years Old = 1,800 Cal for males | 1,600 Cal for females

14-18 Years Old = 2,200 Cal for males | 1,800 Cal for females

19-30 Years Old = 2,400 Cal for males | 2,000 Cal for females

31-50 Years Old = 2,200 Cal for males | 1,800 Cal for females

51+ Years Old = 2,000 Cal for males | 1,600 Cal for females


The USA Government also recommends these levels of ‘empty calories’ per day for males and females (see below).  The estimated empty calories intake is for unusually physically active individuals. Empty calorie are those that are derived from solid fats or added refined sugars.  Cakes, sweets, soft drinks, fast food, all contain a high number of empty calories as seen in this calorie infographic:

2-3 Years Old = 135 Cal for males | 135 Cal for females

4-8 Years Old = 120 Cal for males | 120 Cal for females

9-13 Years Old = 160 Cal for males | 120 Cal for females

14-18 Years Old = 265 Cal for males | 160 Cal for females

19-30 Years Old = 330 Cal for males | 260 Cal for females

31-50 Years Old = 265 Cal for males | 160 Cal for females

51+ Years Old = 260 Cal for males | 120 Cal for females


The Problem Starts Here > Calories in Fast Food

In 2013, the top 10 most unhealthy foods from America’s five most popular fast food chains are absolutely horrific when you are looking at empty calories intake.  The problems with fast foods from Hardee’s, Burger King, McDonalds, Wendy’s and KFC are that they contain a whole lot of empty calories and not much nutritional value.  Here are the 10 most unhealthy foods from these popular fast food chains according to the calorie infographic:

10. Burger King – Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich (750 cal)

9. McDonald’s – Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese (750 cal)

8. KFC – Chicken Pot Pie (790 cal)

7. Hardee’s – 1/3 lb Original Thickburger (810 cal)

6. Wendy’s – Baconator (970 cal)

5. Burger King – Double Whopper With Cheese (990 cal)

4. Wendy’s – ¾ lb Triple (1,060 cal)

3. McDonald’s – Big Breakfast with Hot Cakes (1,090 cal)

2. Burger King – Triple Whopper with Cheese (1,230 cal)

1. Hardee’s – The Monster Thickburger (1,300 cal)


And The Problem Continues with Calories in Takeout Foods…

But the problem with empty calorie intake doesn’t stop at the top five fast food chains.  Popular takeout foods are also loaded with carbs and empty calories as noted in this calorie infographic:

5. Fish and Chips (838 kcal)

4. Kebabs (1,000 kcal)

3. Indian Foods like Chicken Tikka Masala, Pilau Rice, and 1 Plain Naan Bread (1,338 kcal)

2. Chinese Foods like Sweet/Sour Chicken, Egg Fried Rice and Vegetable Spring Roles (1,436 kcal)

1. Pizza – 12” standard size (1,835 kcal)


But, Calorie Intake is not the only problem…

As you know, eating is not the only problem in America.  It’s also the lack of exercise that is causing us to be the most obese nation in the world. Take for instance the examples in this calorie infographic.  Calories burned by a 150 lb person during 1 hours participation in exercise:

Dancing > 370 cal > The average Chinese takeaway would take 3:53 (yes, that’s 3 hours and 53 minutes) of dancing to burn off the calories consumed in Chinese takeaway food.

Football/Soccer > 468 cal > A McDonald’s Big Breakfast with Hotcakes would take 1 hour and 20 minutes to burn off when playing intense football/soccer.

Swimming > 603 cal > A Hardee’s Monster Thickburger would take 2 hours and 9 minutes to burn the calories when swimming!

Jogging > 675 cal > The average Indian kebab takes 1 hour and 29 minutes to burn off when jogging!


Other Calorie Inforgraphic Interesting Facts and Figures:

In 2011, Americans spent $117,000,000,000 on fast food.  There were 311 million people living in the United States in 2011, making the giant fast food industry approximately $376 per person!  Per campita consumption of fast food in 2005 around the world was: $566 in the US, $456 in Canada, $390 in Great Britain and $363 in Australia!  In the UK in 2011, there were 5,400,000,000 visits to fast food restaurants.  Even more striking is that half of all meals consumed in Britain are from fast food joints!
More information is online here: http://visual.ly/ultimate-guide-calories