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Exercise and Mental Health

So many things can impact our overall mental health and wellbeing. Our nutrition plays a role in our mental health. So do our relationships. To learn more about therapy and marriage, check out this article.  One thing that people may not associate with mental health is physical exercise. Sure, it is also great for your physical health, weight, and longevity. However, there are several great mental health benefits of exercise as well.

People who regularly participate in physical activity often feel a euphoric feeling. They may also be provided with more energy, better sleep, and improved cognition. Exercise can also positively assist with several different mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD.


Research indicates that exercise may be as effective as antidepressant medications for treating moderate depression. Studies show that exercise can relieve the symptoms and also aid in the prevention of relapsing back to depression.

Exercise releases brain chemicals that can make you feel good. It can also help to break the cycle of negative thinking. Not only that, but exercise can help you gain confidence as you make small goals or feel better about yourself or your appearance. Finally, exercise can give you the opportunity to get away from the stressors of your daily life.


Exercise can help relieve tension and stress that contribute to anxiety. It can also increase your energy levels and give a sense of wellbeing by releasing endorphins. Some people benefit from focusing on the physical activity. For example, thinking about your breathing, the rhythm of the movements, or the feeling of the air or your muscles may help you be mindful and interrupt negative thinking patterns.

Also, anxiety causes us to tense up out muscles. Exercise can help relieve the aches and pains that stress and anxiety cause. When our body feels better and more relaxed, the mind has a tendency to follow along.


Regular exercise can reduce the symptoms associated with ADHD. Exercise can help you improve your focus and concentration. It can also give your energy and motivation and improve your memory. Exercise gives you a boost in dopamine, serotonin, and other brain chemicals that relate to mood and concentration.

Other Mental Health Benefits of Regular Exercise

Regular physical activity can provide endorphins that help to improve cognition. We can develop a better memory and concentrate harder. This can, in turn, boost your productivity. Exercise can also help to stimulate and grow new brain cells that may aid in the prevention of mental decline. Exercise also provides more energy. When we increase our heart rate during physical activity, our body and mind will be accustomed to getting up and doing things.

Exercise can boost your self-esteem. It can help us feel stronger physically, mentally, and spiritually. Not only that, but you may develop more confidence about your appearance or physical health. Exercise also contributes to better quality sleep. Good sleep patterns can help our thinking, self-esteem, and mood.

Getting Started

Even just a half hour of exercise each day may improve symptoms related to mental illness. Even smaller amounts may contribute to better mental health. We are all busy and may not have the time to contribute 2 hours every day to physical activity, but just doing whatever you can each day may help to improve your physical and mental health.

It is a good idea to do things that you enjoy doing. Physical activity that we dislike can feel like a chore and this can make it harder to participate. If you like playing racquetball or basketball, join a group or meet people at the gym or park that you can play with. Some people enjoy taking morning or evening walks. Others like to garden or ride their bike. Find what works for you.

You may also want to start small, especially if you have not exercised for a long time. It may help to set small goals like walking around the block 3 or 4 times each week. Then, you can gradually increase from there. It may also be a good idea to schedule physical activity when you have the most energy. If you wake up rested and energetic, this may be the best time. It you do well on the weekends, add in a workout.

You can also do things at home that can contribute to your physical activity. You can mow the lawn, wash the car, or clean the house. It may also help to do things with family or friends. Some people love to dance which can be a great form of exercise.


It does not have to be difficult or stressful to add exercise into your life. Physical activity can provide us with a mood boost and a sense of wellbeing. It can also help us relax and provide us with time away from our stressful lives. It can be easy to gradually add more physical activity into our daily or weekly routines and it does not take much to begin to feel the benefits on your mental health.

Marie Miguel Biography

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

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