Exercise Improves Mental Health


Most of us feel better after taking part in some kind of exercise, however when mental health problems occur exercise is often neglected. British researchers recently looked at a number of scientific studies that explored the effects of regular exercise on mental health, and found exercise made a huge difference to improving mental health symptoms. Exercise not only improves mood alertness, concentration, and sleep patterns, but also improves psychotic symptoms associated with serve mental illness.


In addition, exercise was found to improve the quality of life of participants. When mental health is poor, whether the problems related to depression, anxiety, or psychotic symptoms, there is a tendency for people to withdraw socially. Becoming more isolated can add to the decline in mental health. However, taking part in regular exercise can help you to connect again socially with others. It may be getting to know people on a sports team, or in a gym, or even a simple “Hello” or brief chat to people you meet on a regular walk.


Regular exercise was shown in the studies to improve mental health by helping people feel they were using their time in a meaningful way. It also was shown to help people feel empowered to do something to improve their health. If you have mental health problems you are more likely to have serious physical health problems. Research has shown that people who suffer from depression are more likely to have a stroke and other heart disease. Exercise helps not only improve mental health but also improves your physical health so you are less likely to succumb to physical illness.


Try not to be too concerned about what exercise you do to start with. Doing something every day is the most important part. Start by simply walking briskly for 20 minutes a day, if that sounds too hard, make it 10 minutes every day. Then gradually increase so several times a week your daily walks become 40 minutes or more. When your mental health is poor you probably don’t feel like exercising, however, it is crucial to your recovery so push yourself to do it. For more help with mental health contact us to book your consultation.


Contact Bay Health Clinic today to find out more or to book a consultation with one of our Naturopaths; if needed they will also prepare tailored herbal medicines and recommend supplements to help you feel your best.  Call 07 571 3226 or email us: ask@bayhealth.nz



Original Article March 2012

Copyright Jaine Kirtley