Exercise For Mental Health
Exercise for mental health
We all know the importance of exercise for keeping us physically healthy, but many of us aren’t aware that it can keep us mentally healthy as well.
Research has shown that those who exercise regularly have better mental health, emotional wellbeing, lower rates of mental illness, improved sleep quality and improved overall mood. It can also be an effective way to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety.
In some research, exercise for mental health has shown to be so effective that it has been proposed that it should be considered like a drug.
Why has exercise shown to be effective?
Exercise has shown to work in many ways. First and foremost, it encourages positive changes in our brain including neural growth and creates new activity patterns to promote feelings of calm and well being.
Exercise also helps to release powerful chemicals into our brain (Endorphins), which make us feel good and help to regulate our mood. Additionally exercise can serve as a distraction from our daily lives and be a place for meditation, or release of frustrations and stress.
How much exercise?
As with all drugs there is always a dosage.
It is recommended that we all take part in 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week. This might be just a little harder than a fast walk, but is different for all people. Generally, you should still just be able to hold a conversation.
How should I exercise?
There is no right or wrong as to what you choose but sometimes it can be difficult to make a change that will be long lasting.
Motivational tips to help get you started include:
- Start with an activity you are comfortable with.
- Set achievable short term goals (30 mins, 2 x this week).
- Reward yourself when you achieve goals.
- Write down what you would like to achieve from exercise.
- Schedule your exercise into your lifestyle and routine.
- Keep an exercise diary to keep track of your response.
- Get other people involved.
If you need help to get motivated to exercise improving your mental health, book an appointment with our Exercise Physiologist!