25 Nov Exercise and Mental Health
There has been a lot of discussion in the media about mental health over the past twelve months.
The pressure and pace of modern society can take its toll on our mental wellbeing and it has been encouraging to see well known sportspeople and celebrities come forward and discuss their own experiences with mental health.
Recent research suggests that exercise can have a positive impact on mental health.
There are many ways that exercise positively influences your mental health:
- Promotes the release of feel-good chemicals in your brain, like endorphins and serotonin.
- Exercise helps you sleep better so you rest fully at night and feel more energised during the day.
- Gives you a sense of accomplishment as your fitness improves and you start achieving your goals.
- Exercise is usually a shared activity with others so you get the added benefits of social connection.
The Age newspaper has reported research that shows that even low doses of physical activity such as going for a walk twice per week has been linked to a reduced risk of depression. This may be significant because many people who experience mental illness are less likely to meet these physical activity guidelines.
Dr Megan Teychenne , a researcher from Deakin University suggests that whilst physiological mechanisms play a part, there are also psychological factors including enjoyment, mastering skills and social interaction that influence the positive relationship between physical activity and mental health.
Are there barriers that are stopping you from meeting the required exercise guidelines for your age? It could be mental, physical or just not knowing where or how to start.
If you have any concerns about your mental wellbeing, our psychologist, Rob Postlethwaite can provide support. Psychology looks at the link between brain and behaviour and can offer motivational and pain management techniques. Our physiotherapists and exercise physiologists are able to provide supervised exercise sessions to give you the best chance of success with sticking to your exercise program.