Posted on May 20, 2020 by Jenny Cromack

Physical activity and exercise are well known for their positive effects on physical health and medical conditions such as heart disease, obesity as well as diabetes. Sometimes these benefits are often given more attention and emphasis than the positive benefits of exercise and mental health.

However, due to the current lockdown situation, this attitude is changing. More and more people are realising the positive impact being healthy and active has on their mental wellbeing and how important this is to them.

Completing regular and enjoyable exercise is proven to produce positive outcomes for people with mental health problems. It is also known to have reducing effects on anxiety as well as improving mood, self-esteem and self-perception! Exercise can be used as a therapy for depression and anxiety but, as well as this, exercise is known for it’s resilience to stress, improvements in sleep quality and sleep patterns all resulting in better quality of life.

Impact of Exercise On Mental Health

  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Improves sleep patterns and quality of sleep – better sleep tends to be better for our mental health
  • Improves self-esteem, confidence and self-perception
  • Improves and uplifts your mood… you exercise those endorphins (your feel good hormones) fly around your body!

We aren’t finished just yet… exercise not only improves our mental health BUT, due to improved levels of self-confidence it eases the disclosure of mental health issues, making it more easy for us to talk about how we are feeling with others. This in itself, massively helps with coping with stress, anxiety and depression.

Although exercise may not be an exact cure for mental health problems, it is a huge and powerful tool we can use to help. When we put all of the benefits together, we begin to understand how important exercising regularly is to improving our overall wellbeing, both our physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing. Not to mention the overall enjoyment by socialising, tackling challenges, working towards goals and having an ‘escape’.

However little or as much as you can commit to, the key is be consistent! The great thing about exercise is that there is no one size fits all! You can be as creative as you want! Complete different activities every time you exercise or stick to a routine, however you approach your training simply do what you enjoy and you’re more likely to stick to it!

It’s easy to talk about the positive impact of exercise and mental health, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to motivate yourself to exercise. Some days we may find it hard to motivate ourselves to get up and go (it happens to everyone, even personal trainers!), so what can you do to help this?

  • Plan ahead, schedule your workouts at the time that suits you best. This will also help with a sense of control!
  • Complete exercises that you enjoy! You want it to be fun and not feel like a chore! It may be a dance in the living room, or a nice long walk, or a strength training session. Do what makes you happy!
  • Be social! Although the current situation makes this a lot difficult, include friends and family in your activities. Join a live class or go on a video call and train together. Making an appointment with a friend means you’re more likely to stick to your training session.

Exercising doesn’t have to include equipment or a gym and it can be done at any time that suits you. Finding your own way and enjoyment will allow you to reap the benefits from staying physically active.

Now, more than ever, looking after our mental health is massively important. Please do not underestimate the effects which taking part in regular activity will have on your mental health. If you need any help with motivation then we post regular workouts, recipes and blogs on our social media pages. Be sure to check out our Facebook and Instagram pages!