Exercise and Mental Health

05 March 2021


How does exercise help my mental health?

Physical activity has a huge potential to enhance your overall wellness and wellbeing. Exercise can improve mental health by improving your mood, reducing stress and anxiety and depression. This can lead to better self-esteem and cognitive function. Plus, if you exercise with a buddy, you have the added benefit of social connection and someone to keep you motivated.

How much exercise do I need to do to see benefits?

The good news is that you don’t need to spend hours on a treadmill or pumping iron at the gym to reap the benefits of physical activity on your wellbeing. Even just 10 short minutes of brisk walking can increase your mental alertness, energy and give you a more positive mood. Ideally though, you should aim for 30 minutes of exercise each day for your physical and mental health to benefit fully.

What is the best type of exercise to improve my mental health?

Any physical activity that you enjoy and will do on a regular basis will see you on the right path. Some great ideas are:

  • Running or walking – Get outdoors and pound the pavement. Exercising in nature, or eco-therapy, can be particularly beneficial. Studies suggest that spending time in natural environments and green space can lower stress levels and reduce symptoms of anxiety and mild depression.*
  • Cycling or spin classes – increases your heart rate and is fantastic for your cardiovascular system, which in turn can assist in maintaining brain function and memory
  • Boxing – Hitting a punching bag is a great way to release stress and any built up anger in a positive and healthy way
  • Pilates or yoga – Namaste your way to stress reduction, mindfulness and increased relaxation
  • Weights or resistance training – Improve your overall mood and fatigue levels while building muscle

What are some of the other benefits of exercise?

Exercise is for everyone, regardless of your age, weight, background or health status, although knowing where to start can be daunting. It’s important to get the right advice for your individual needs, speak to one of our Accredited Exercise Physiologists who are specially qualified to prescribe exercise for those living with injuries, pain or chronic illness.

Being active throughout your life is the best way to maintain health, well-being and quality of life. It can help to:

Prevent & manage chronic conditions

Keep you socially connected

Maintain your independence

Maintain brain function & memory

Reduce risk of falls

Improve balance

What is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP)?

An AEP holds at least a four-year degree (most often a Masters Degree) specialising in exercise and movement for the prevention and management of chronic diseases and injuries. AEPs are different from other exercise professionals because of their extensive knowledge, skills and experience in clinical exercise delivery and their ability to provide health modification counselling.

Getting support

If you would like more information on how we can help support you to improve your health and wellness, please call our friendly team for an appointment on 9430 9100.

* The great outdoors? Exploring the mental health benefits of natural environments https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01178/full#B36

Continue reading