Sweat, smile and repeat! How exercise and mental health go hand in hand

By Priya Premkumar
Physiotherapist at Life Ready Physio Cockburn


Have you had a stressful day? Need to blow off some steam? Or perhaps you could do with a bit of a mood lift? Physical activity is your answer!

We have always been advised to regularly exercise for a whole host of reasons. There are a whole bunch of physical benefits to exercise such as good heart health, weight control, improved balance, bone health and muscle strength, just to name a few.
But exercise can have a great effect on mental health too. 

Exercise causes your brain to release chemicals that help improve your mood. Research shows that those who regularly exercised had lower rates of mental illness, improved emotional wellbeing as well as a reduced risk of developing mental health disorders in the future. 

Regular exercise can lower the risk of developing anxiety and mood disorders and can also help treat such conditions to improve motivation levels, feelings of depression, help improve emotional stability as well as improve overall wellbeing and happiness.

On the flipside, lack of regular exercise can contribute to developing mental health disorders. Inactivity can also be a symptom or consequence of mental health issues.

 Getting your dose of physical activity can;

  • Reduce stress
  • Improve your mood
  • Improve motivation
  • Boost self-esteem and confidence
  • Improve coping ability and sense of control
  • Improve feeling of wellbeing
  • Increase energy levels
  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce feelings of anxiety and depression
  • Provide opportunities to act and belong to a group and to socialise 

There is no specific form of exercise that has been shown to be more effective than another. So regular 30 minute walks, gym sessions or a game of team sports can be a great place to start. So what are you waiting for? It’s never too late to make a start.