Benefits of Exercise for Mental Health

by | Feb 25, 2022 | Stories

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During the month of February, the Sapphire Family have put the spotlight on Mental Health Awareness from our two in-house events with specialised guest speakers. The aim from these presentations was to reduce the stigma around mental health (in general) and to open opportunities for honest conversations.

When discussing effective ways to reduce depression and anxiety, regular movement was highlighted as being something simple that can be incorporated into our daily schedules if we are mindful about it. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of exercise and how it can assist mental health going forward.

Mental health benefits from exercise

Exercise has lots of benefits, not only for physical health but for mental health. Exercise stimulates chemicals that improve your mood and the parts of your brain responsible for memory and learning.

How so?

Research indicates exercise releases chemicals (endorphins and serotonin) that improve your mood. It can also get you out in the world, help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation as well as putting you in touch with other people.

When you exercise regularly, it can reduce symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety. it can also help with recovery from mental health issues, too.

Exercise and the mind

Exercise pumps blood to the brain, which can help you to think more clearly by increasing the size of the hippocampus – (part of the brain responsible for memory). It also increases the connections between the nerve cells in the brain, improving your memory and protecting your brain against injury and disease.

How much exercise do you need?

It is recommended adults do at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most or all days of the week. If this feels like too much, break up movement sessions into two 15 minute intervals per day. Should you struggle to find motivation, think about ways that you can make exercise part of your daily routine and lifestyle. This is made a little easier when you choose something you enjoy.

If you would like to reach out to our guest presenters for more advice or helpful resources on mental health, please contact:

Roxane Robotham from ‘Get Perspective’

Malise Banks (volunteer Beyond Blue speaker) and coach

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