Dylan Hadfield explains that a little movement goes a long way to improving your Mental Health. Dylan is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist with ESSA and is part of the Health in Balance team located at Caulfield South, Victoria.
There is a wealth of research regarding regular physical activity and the benefits it can have to help reduce our risk of developing illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, obesity, stroke, cancer, dementia, as well as exercise’s role in facilitating weight loss and recovery from a wide range of neurological or musculoskeletal injuries. It may come as a surprise to you that there is now more and more evidence supporting regular physical activity in improving one’s mental health.
Exercise can help improve our mental health due to the simple fact that it makes you feel good! Exercise releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin into your body that improve your mood and feelings of self worth. Physical activity on a regular basis can reduce your stress and symptoms of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, and aid with recovery from these mental health issues.
Exercise can also get us out in the world, help to reduce any feelings of loneliness and isolation, and put us in touch with other people. One of the other benefits of exercise is that it also improves our quality of sleep, which is important in helping you prepare for that busy day ahead! When exercising, our heart and lungs work to pump blood to the brain. This makes us think more clearly as it increases the size of the hippocampus; the part of the brain responsible for memory. This added blood flow also increases the connections between the nerve cells in the brain, improving your memory and helping protect your brain against injury and disease.
So how much exercise should we be doing to receive the benefits for our mental health? It is recommended that we should exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week at a moderate to vigorous intensity. Larger doses, for example longer or more frequent bouts of physical activity, may be more effective in improving mental health if this is achievable. The type of exercise we perform is less important as long as we get moving! Particularly for individuals with serious mental disorders, it may be necessary to slowly build up to this amount of exercise, taking into account current activity levels and physical capacity.
So let’s all get moving and remember, you’re only one good workout from a good mood! Don’t hesitate to contact Health in Balance on 03 9523 5110 for more details about how a tailored Exercise Physiology treatment plan can help you.
For further information, refer to:
Beyond Blue: https://www.beyondblue.org.au
Better Health Channel: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/depression-and-exercise
Exercise and Sport Science Australia (ESSA) Position Statement on Exercise and Mental Health: https://www.asep.org/asep/asep/JEPonlineAUGUST2013_Morgan.pdf