We all know that exercise is beneficial you hear it all the time that you should exercise because it’s good for you. But what does this mean exactly what a lot of people might not be aware of is the effect that exercise can have on a person’s mental health. Firstly exercise is proven to greatly reduce day-to-day stress increase self-reported happiness levels and lower levels of sadness and loneliness both in the short term and long term exercise can prevent depression and anxiety disorders and in some cases can even be as effective as psychological and pharmaceutical treatments a study also found that running for just 15 minutes a day or walking for one hour can reduce the risk of major depression by 26% so why does exercise have such a positive effect on the body . Exercise boosts your body’s production of endorphins which are hormones that help you relax feel more pleasure feel less pain and reduce the amount of a stress hormone in your body called cortisol exercise also helps your brain produce more dopamine and serotonin which are chemicals responsible for making you feel happy. Also activities like fitness classes and team sports are opportunities for social interaction which is proven to boost moods and decrease feelings of loneliness when it becomes a habit exercise can also improve self-esteem and foster a sense of self-worth an observational study looking at 1.2 million adults across the u.s. found that on average there is a forty three point two percent reduction in the number of poor mental health days experienced by those who exercise regularly compared to people who don’t exercise exercising for 30 to 60 minutes a day was associated with the biggest reduction in poor mental health days but exercising for more than three hours a day was associated with worse mental health than not exercising at all therefore. it’s obvious that obsessively exercising is not healthy it was also found that team sports and aerobics were associated with the biggest reductions in poor mental health days .Unfortunately more than a quarter of adults across the world do not get enough exercise therefore you should identify what exercises you enjoy doing and then set reasonable goals and stick to an exercise routine to see positive results here are some general suggestions individuals in their 20s can commit to a wide variety of exercises but should focus on developing bone mineral density so they should do weight-bearing exercises that promote bone growth these include exercises such as running dancing or martial arts individuals in their 30s and 40s start to lose muscles there for weight training is especially important during this time it is also important to do cardiovascular exercises like rowing and swimming individuals over 50 should focus on exercises that help with balance they should consider water aerobics stretching and performing lightweight activities however it’s important to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine to make sure that they’re safe for you the stay well program at the st.Joseph’s Healthcare Center in Hamilton provides therapeutic exercises for those who have medical conditions such as neurological disorders or heart disease to gain perspective of this program and the benefits of exercise . what impacts do programs such as the stay well program have on both the physical and mental health of their patients the stable program is a physical maintenance and exercise program so they work on things like upper body strength lower body strength core strengthening as well as their aerobic capabilities and endurance things like range of motion flexibility agility as well as things as balance and coordination so overall there’s a lot of different physical capabilities having to do the program and as we know those really correlate a lot with our mental health .There’s an indirect benefit that happens when patients come the group exercise program so that alone does have an indirect effect in that there’s a lot of compassion a lot of friendships that are built with the program a lot of socializing that happens within the program which is beneficial for one’s that mental and emotional health that we might see as well as people just being able to keep their independence and not having to rely on other resources or other family members or other friends to take care of them so Its going to have a big indirect effect on them.
So does exercise should be used as a way to improve mental health ?
as we might have already talked about of course it is I mean a lot of studies that show that there’s a direct correlation between one’s physical health and their mental health I mean I’m yet to meet somebody that felt bad after doing an exercise program everyone always tends to feel quite good about themselves after they did it knowing that they did something to help their their health within a positive way at the end of the day its gonna have that correlation towards their mental health.