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The benefits of exercise on mental health

The benefits of exercise on mental health

Exercise is not only important for our physical wellbeing, it is also extremely important for our emotional and mental wellbeing. While it can be easy to find excuses to put off exercise, the very reasons for avoiding exercise are often the reasons we need it most.

“I don’t have time”

“It’s been a long day and all I want to do is sit on the couch and relax”

“I’ll miss out on sleep if I exercise before work/the kids wake up and I need all the sleep I can get!”.

If any of these sound familiar to you, then it might be worthwhile organising some ‘exercise appointments’ with yourself.

The benefits of exercise are extremely beneficial, especially for people struggling with anxiety, low mood, confidence, sleep and stress.

Exercise releases endorphins in our body, which improves our mood. It results in increased levels of the ‘happy chemical’ (serotonin) in our body and it energises us. But that’s not all! Exercise is a way to relieve stress and can be a form of relaxation, especially if your activity of choice is yoga. We can start to feel better about ourselves when we exercise regularly due to feeling stronger, healthier and taking control of our wellbeing.

Exercise does not have to be a chore. Indeed, if you view it this way, then you’re less likely to experience the positive benefits. The most important thing is choosing a form of exercise that you enjoy (easy for some and a much harder task for others!). Whether it’s going for a daily walk, training for a marathon or trying out a new class at the gym, any exercise is beneficial in the prevention and treatment of mental health concerns. Using exercise as a reason for a family outing can benefit everyone involved.

If you have children and find it difficult to find the time to exercise, get them involved! Try doing at least one active activity on the weekend with the family. It might be walking the dog, riding to the park, kicking a ball, or going swimming. All of these fun family activities have the added benefit of exercise which is good for the whole family.

When meeting with new clients, many of the questions I will ask in the initial sessions revolve around exercise, diet, relaxation and sleeping habits. Together, these form the backbone of positive mental health and wellbeing.