exercise and mental health

Exercise and Mental Health

Exercise is often associated with physical health benefits, however, the effects on our mental health are often forgotten about. Every year 1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental illness and exercise is one strategy that can be used preventatively or to help reduce the symptoms of mental illness.

What does the research say?
  • Regular physical activity was associated with reduced incidence of future depression.
  • Exercise has been found to have acute benefits on mood – think of that “runners high” feeling.
  • Resistance training or strength training has been shown to significantly reduce depressive symptoms regardless of health status and total prescribed volume.
  • Research has shown the link between increased sedentary behaviour and risk of anxiety. In other words, try to decrease your sedentary time.
  • Walking outside in natural environments has been shown to reduce anxiety.
Tips from an Exercise Physiologist:
  • Join a group exercise class. Moving with others can help increase social interaction and involvement in a community of like-minded individuals.
  • Something is better than nothing! For instance, research has shown that even short bouts of 10 minutes can be effective for improving mood, something you can easily include in your day.
  • Bonus points if you can add in exercises in an outside environment. Organise a walk with a friend on the weekend or explore some of SA’s beautiful trails on offer.
  • Break up time sitting in front of your desk, for example a walk outside on your lunch break or a few simple stretches from the comfort of your desk.
  • Get help from an exercise professional. It is beneficial to see someone who can prescribe exercise tailored specifically to you, set appropriate goals and celebrate the small wins along the way for both exercise and mental health.

You can book a 1:1 appointment with one of our expert exercise physiologists or book into one of our exercise classes online here.






Pro Exercise SA  Zoe Toland, Exercise Physiologist

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