The Mental Health Benefits of Exercising

During the current circumstances surrounding Covid-19, taking care of your mind as well as your body is really important. While staying at home you may feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also feel low, worried or anxious, or concerned about your finances, your health or those close to you. We are all experiencing increased anxiety and stressors that could contribute to mental health complications or even a weakened immune system. It is now more important than ever to boost immune function in order to prevent illness and aid faster recovery…

The mental health benefits of exercise are profound; People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories whilst feeling more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. Alongside this, exercise can improve your physical health and physique, whilst also increasing your self esteem and body confidence.

According to evidence presented by the British nutrition foundation, not getting enough physical exercise can cause depression and dementia.

British Nutrition Foundation

According to evidence presented by the British nutrition foundation, not getting enough physical exercise can cause depression and dementia. An expert in exercise and sport psychology at the University of Strathclyde suggested that the risk of a person becoming depressed is doubled if they are inactive. A natural high, caused by endorphins released during exercise, is thought to play a role as a preventative measure.

Exercise is also a powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges including and not limited to anxiety, depression and ADHD. Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressants, with none of the side effects associated with medication. Running for 15 minutes a day or walking for 1 hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%.

TIP– Improve mindfulness during exercise by asking get yourself what you can see, hear, feel and smell. This can help you to stay present if you are anxious or stressed and interrupt negative thought patterns.

Any additional mental and emotional benefits?

  • Sharper memory and thinking – The same endorphins that make you feel better also help you to concentrate. Exercise stimulates the growth of new brain cells and helps prevent age related decline.
  • Improved self esteem- Exercise is an investment in your mind, body and soul. It can improve your sense of self worth and make you feel better about your appearance. It also gives you a sense of achievement when training goals are conquered.
  • Better sleep- Exercise helps  regulate sleep patterns and reduce anxiety, a common cause of sleep deprivation and insomnia.
  • Increased energy- Exercises reduces  fatigue and increases physical and mental energy levels.
  • Stronger resilience and immune functions- When faced with mental or emotional challenges in life, exercise can help you cope in a healthy way, instead of resorting to alcohol, drugs or other negative behaviours that ultimately only make your symptoms worse. Regular exercise will boost your immune system and reduce the impact of stress. It also acts as a healthy distraction to everyday stressors, giving you headspace and the ability to release tension. Exercise helps you to break out of a negative thought cycle.
  • Stress reduction- Stress can cause a number of physiological complications such as muscular tension, headaches, back and neck pain, elevated heart rate, muscular cramps, tightness in chest, insomnia, diarrhoea, heartburn, stomach discomfort and frequent urination. Exercise can help you overcome these physical side effects! The above symptoms can cause worry and discomfort which can lead to even more stress, a damaging cycle between mind and body.

So how much exercise is recommended?

To reap the mental and physical benefits of exercise, the department of health recommends that adults should aim to complete a minimum of 30minutes exercise 5 times a week. NHS.uk suggests this should be in conjunction with eating healthy, well balanced meals as well as drinking plenty of water.

Remember, managing your weight and general fitness is key to your health, wellbeing and resilience. PGPT can create bespoke virtual & mobile training packages that fit your lifestlye in the most convenient way. So to find out more complete our simple consultation kick-off form here: Complimentary Consultation