You know that exercise is important. You hear it every day, and while you certainly believe, you may not know just how much it can really do for you. It turns out the besides building a strong body, a good workout regimen can have overwhelming positive mental benefits. Here are four things you might not have known exercise can do for your mental health.

Mood Enhancement

You may already know that regular exercise boosts metabolism and increases endorphin counts, but it actually has far more substantial impacts. Several studies have shown that vigorous workouts are just as effective at treating depression as medication. Even more impressive, exercise has better long-term effects on mood stability and improvement, and it is the most effective treatment to prevent depression-related relapses.

Anxiety

Then again, maybe depression isn’t a problem for you. If you have ever struggle with anxiety, exercise is still your best option. Researchers are still trying to uncover exactly why, but exercise helps people to temper their flight vs fight reactions to stressful situations, and individuals who get regular exercise are much less prone to panic and chronic anxiety. This is doubly awesome because workouts are good as both a treatment to anxiety and as a preventative measure.

Battling Addiction

Studies involving smokers have shown that intense, frequent workouts are the best way to help people give up nicotine. The routines are even better when paired with cognitive-behavioral therapy, but because of this research, many health professionals are looking to hard-core exercise as a supplemental treatment to battling all forms of addiction.

Social Resilience

So this one is going to sound a little strange, but scientists have demonstrated that regular exercise helps people build up resistance to negative social influences. Beginning with a mice study, researchers demonstrated that daily, robust exercise and exploration made mice resistant to the effects of bullying. Further studies have shown that the same is true for humans. Activities as simple as running through the neighborhood or going on a hike are proving to be the most powerful tool for a person to be unencumbered by social stress.