probably doesn’t surprise you that physical and mental health are closely
Studies have shown that running for 15 minutes per day or walking for an hour per day can
decrease the risk of depression by 26 per cent. Exercising regularly is even
considered to be as
effective in treating acute mental health conditions as some medications.
you’re physically active, your body releases chemicals such as endorphins and
serotonin, which can help make you feel great. Even 30 minutes of exercise,
five days per week, can make a huge difference on your overall wellbeing. Here
are a few of the mental health benefits that regular activity has to offer.
1. Improves Sleep
enough sleep is vital for positive mental health. We’ve all experienced feeling
sluggish and foggy on days when we haven’t had enough rest. Often the last
thing you feel like doing when you’re sleep deprived is go for a jog around the
block. However, regular exercise can improve your overall
sleep quality and length. Staying active helps to strengthen your circadian
rhythm, making you feel awake during the day and sleepy at night.
2. Provides a Sense of Achievement
exercise is better than no exercise – truly. Even if you can’t achieve the recommended
30 minutes of daily exercise, going for a 10-minute walk on your lunch
break, or swimming 15 laps in your local swimming pool in the morning can still
have a big impact! Regular exercise brings with it a sense of accomplishment as
you set fitness goals and smash them. Whether that means training for a
marathon, or incorporating a yoga session into your weekly routine – reaching
your activity goals will help to promote total physical and mental wellbeing.
3. Reduces the Risk of Mental Illness
is a serious weapon against mental health issues such as anxiety and
depression. When you get your heart rate up by engaging in moderate to high
intensity activity, more blood and oxygen flows to your brain. This helps
stimulate the growth of new brain cells and flood you with chemicals such as
serotonin (aka. ‘the happy chemical’).
Many health professionals recommend regular physical activity to patients with
depression and anxiety because of the positive effect it has on treating these
4. Reduces Stress
can tighten your muscles and lead to an array of negative physical conditions.
Exercise can help relieve muscle tension and decrease stress by promoting blood
flow. Reducing stress can further benefit your physical health by boosting your
immune system, so you’re less likely to get sick. Exercising outside or with
other people – like playing a team sport or joining a running group – can help
you connect with people and nature, and help reduce stress levels further.
5. Improves Memory and Thinking
you go for a jog, swim a few laps or do some weights at the gym, you’re not
only doing wonders for your physical health and fitness, you’re boosting your
intellectual abilities too! Physical activity can help sharpen your memory and help
you perform at your best.
no doubt about it – a regular exercise routine can boost your energy, improve
your mood and contribute to overall mental wellbeing. You don’t need to be an
elite athlete to benefit from staying active. Even a daily brisk walk or a
regular gym class can help you experience a stronger sense of mental wellbeing.
Introducing small changes can help you start to build
healthier habits into your routine. Check out the range of fun,
group classes on offer at your local Virgin Active Health Club.