We know exercise is important for our physical health. However, exercise also has many benefits for our mental health.

Benefits of Exercise Upon Mental Health include:

  • Improvements in mood
  • Improvements in cardio-respiratory fitness and reduction in all-cause mortality risk
  • Control weight gain induced by medication
  • Improve chronic disease outcomes, especially type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • Decreases symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Improves sleep quality and increases self-esteem
  • Exercise can have a positive effect on counteracting some common side effects of medication such as increasing muscle strength and bone density, decrease or prevent weight gain, increase mood and help maintain steady blood pressure.

It can take some time for the benefits of exercise to be noticeable.

It can take up to 8 weeks for symptoms of depression to be reduced once a regular exercise regime is undertaken. It’s not necessarily about doing the best or most difficult type of exercise; it is about doing what works for the individual.

Did you know…

  • Even doing one workout a week is shown to have benefits
    • Physical inactivity is the cause of approximately 9% of premature mortality worldwide,
    • One study highlighted that 12% of cases of depression could have been prevented by just one hour of exercise a week.
  • Australians who are living with mental illness:
    • Are 2-3 times more likely to suffer from diabetes than the general population
    • Are almost four times more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease (CVD)
    • Also significantly more likely to die from CVD as opposed to those without mental illness

So why is exercise actually important and how does it contribute to preventing chronic conditions developing?

  • Trains the heart to be more effective at delivering blood to your body. Meaning your heart is required to do less work during day to day living
  • Increased blood flow through blood vessels decreases the likelihood of fatty plaque development
  • The heart works more efficiently which decreases your blood pressure – huge predictor of many diseases
  • Helps assist with weight management as it counteracts the energy intake from food eaten
  • Increases mood due to the release of a chemical called endorphins that automatically get released when the body undergoes exercise
  • Helps prevent weakening of muscles and bones due to continual micro-tears of the muscles and shock sent through the bones as we exercise

A few tips from your Exercise Physiologists

  • Start small – agree to 10 minutes as a minimum each time you’ve scheduled a workout. Even when you don’t feel like it, if you at least do 10 minutes, you’re keeping the habit going. Often getting started is the hardest part!
  • There is no ‘correct’ type of exercise; instead, do things that you enjoy. Exercise doesn’t have to be undertaken in a gym, it can be done around the home or include things such as walking down the beach, riding your bike to get a coffee, going on a bushwalk. Incorporating exercise into your lifestyle is the most beneficial way to make it feel enjoyable and not like such a chore
  • Exercise with a friend – it’s a great way to keep each other accountable

For further information regarding how exercise can be beneficial for your mental health, book in an appointment with our Exercise Physiologists.

Contact us or phone 6122 0150 to book your appointment.

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