Exercise and Mental Health

Exercise can improve your physical health, trim your waistline, and even add years to your life, but that’s not what motivates most people to stay active. Those who exercise regularly typically do so because they feel better overall. They sleep better, have more energy and have a more positive mindset.

Here are more benefits to the mind from exercise:

  • Sharper memory and thinking

  • Higher self-esteem

  • Stronger resilience

  • Less anxiety

Even a little bit of activity is better than nothing. If you don’t have time for 30 minutes of exercise or you are just getting started, start with 10-minute sessions and slowly increase your time. The more you exercise, the more energy you’ll have, so eventually you’ll feel ready for a little more. Commit to moving your body most days as you get started. As exercising becomes habit, you can add variety and more time. The benefits will accumulate, so stick with it!

With depression, the barriers to exercising can be many. Feeling overwhelmed with daily tasks, fatigued and having negative thoughts can make the thought of exercise exhausting. Instead of focusing on the physical demands of exercise, try focusing on activities you might enjoy and in comfortable surroundings. It could be walking around the mall or playing basketball at the neighborhood park. Perfecting a layup is both physically challenging and satisfying!

Listen to the full episode here and for more information on exercise and mental health, visit The National Alliance on Mental Illness.