Exercise Can Positively Impact Mental Health
By: Elizabeth Clements
We all know that physical exercise is good for our bodies, but it also impacts our mental health. Regular exercise has been linked to reducing depression, anxiety, and daily stress (American Psychological Association, 2023). Recent studies have suggested that moderate daily exercise may decrease the progression of Alzheimer’s for people who are at risk for developing the disease. The chemical, norepinephrine, increases when a person engages in physical exercise. This chemical is thought to be related to stress tolerance. During exercise the chemical is released and many systems throughout the body begin to work together, as they do so, the systems become stronger and act as a barrier to daily stressors.
Exercise can be simple or high intensity. Walking is one of the most underrated forms of healthy body movements. Simple walking for 30 minutes a day can increase mood and overall life satisfaction. Along with walking, jogging, biking, or dancing a few times a week can reduce anxiety. Yoga can help reduce the effects of depression when practiced a few times a week. Yoga also helps connect the mind to the body through deep structured breathing. Once a person begins an exercise routine, other areas of the life are positively impacted such as nutrition and sleeping. These activities practiced 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week, can positively aid in stress management and combat negative moods and feelings.
Exercise looks different to everyone, so it is important to be mindful of your body and speak to a medical professional about an appropriate exercise routine. Try keeping a journal of your moods before and after and you engage in exercise to best help you stay consistent with your routine. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please reach out to Samaritan Counseling, Michigan City Indiana (219.879.3283), and connect with a professional.