Exercise can improve your mental health during divorce

Divorce has a profound effect on your emotions. This is no surprise. The time you and your spouse have invested together, plans you’ve made, and the comfort of a shared future are gone.

Perhaps the comfort of that relationship affected your exercise routine. After all, she loved you just as you were. This sense of security commonly results in the “love chub” phenomenon—letting your fitness fall by the wayside and gaining a few extra pounds.

You’re not alone. A recent worldwide study of single and married men found that the average body mass index (BMI) was considerably higher among husbands. An earlier study found that the happier the couple, the higher the weight gain after tying the knot.

Now that you’re facing bachelorhood once again, you want to get back in shape. Physical appearance aside, the emotional benefits of exercise during a divorce are enormous. Here’s a short rundown:

  • Reduce stress: Divorce is many things, and stressful is chief among them. Sticking to a regular exercise routine increases norepinephrine, a chemical in your brain that manages stress.
  • Get confident: Forget appearances for a moment—slimming down could make you feel Maintaining a healthy BMI can improve self-confidence. In bachelorhood, this can be key.
  • Get happy: Along with stress, divorce commonly causes depression and other negative emotions. Exercise helps release endorphins in your brain, the chemical connected with happiness.
  • Rest up: While anxiety might keep you up at night, exercise can help you sleep better. Regular aerobic exercise regulates your mood and decompresses your mind.

Negative feelings associated with divorce can be overwhelming and unmotivating. The trick is to fight against them. Once you start exercising, you’ll feel better. And feeling better—or self-love—is often the first step to recovering from emotional anguish.

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