Over the past couple of years, mental health has come to the forefront of the health scene, affecting all age groups and demographics. We are all subject to stressful situations and mentally challenging times whether it be through work, school, family or health related problems. Even more-so
now with the looming effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and recurrent lockdown/isolation periods, mental health has become even more of an important topic to discuss.
Amongst other helpful practices and coping strategies, considerable evidence has shown that engagement in regular physical exercise improves mental health as well as physical health. A recent study revealed that, regardless of the type of exercise, engagement in an exercise session led to significant reductions of restlessness, bad mood, perceived stress levels and anxiety. Further to this, exercise in more calming environments such as a nature jog/walk or a Pilates class as opposed to an indoor gym, showed impressive results in stress reduction in particular.
Why is this?
Exercise causes your body to increase blood flow to the brain and influence the parts of the brain that release chemicals called endorphins or “happy” hormones. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.
What does this mean for you?
Whether you’re a gym junkie, runner, cyclist, pilates lover and everything in between, any form of exercise will significantly help to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and restlessness as well as boosting your mood.
If you have any questions about the benefits of exercise on mental health please send us a message or comment below! If you have any topics you want us to talk about then let us know by commenting below or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Sandra Klaperski, et al. (2019) Optimizing mental health benefits of exercise: The influence of the exercise environment on acute stress levels and wellbeing, Mental Health & Prevention. Vol15.
Sharma, A., Madaan, V., & Petty, F. D. (2006). Exercise for mental health. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry, 8(2), 106.