Exercise and Mental Health

Exercise and Mental Health

Exercise and Mental HealthExercise and Mental Health – something you have thought about? Have you ever felt depressed, stressed out, anxious or is the consistent micro–management of a busy lifestyle affecting your mental health? According to a survey conducted by the ABS in 2007 (Australian Bureau of Statistics), one in five people over the age of 16 experience mental health issues. At the top of the list you will find anxiety, the most common with 14.4% of people being affected by symptoms on a regular basis. Symptoms of mental health conditions can range from mild to severe and can include some or all of the following: –        Negative mood –        Feeling of flatness –        Guilt –        Uneasy sleep –        Changes to appetite –        Low energy –        Poor concentration –        Social withdrawal –        Low self esteem It is important to identify within yourself if you are experiencing one or all of these symptoms on a regular basis and reach out for some help. It is common that mental health conditions are treated with pharmaceutical medication, however I can tell you that a more conservative treatment is paving the way in reducing symptoms in a more natural and organic way.

The way forward – Exercise and Mental Health will follow

The conservative treatment I speak of is EXERCISE! Exercise is activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness and is good for our mental health and our brains (www.headspace.org.au). It is highly underutilised for management of mental illness in my book! Exercise and mental health: exercise seems to have an effect on certain chemicals (dopamine and serotonin) in the brain and these chemicals communicate with each other, directly affecting your mood and thought patterns. The positive effects that doing exercise and mental health can include: –        Reduction in anxiety –        Reduction in depression –        Improved self esteem –        Improved cognitive function –        Improved sleep –        Stress relief –        Increased energy and stamina How much? How often? What type of exercise should I do I hear you ask?! Evidence suggests that a moderate level of aerobic and cardiovascular exercise seems to work best. 30 – 60 minutes on most days, but preferably all days of the week that includes activities such as walking, jogging, bike riding, tai chi, yoga, boxing and/or swimming. This can be broken into blocks throughout the day or performed all at once, depending on the lifestyle you live and what works for you. It is important that your exercise patterns stay consistent and regular as it can take anywhere from 6-8 weeks to see any long term lasting effect. So next time you are feeling low or are dealing with stressful life situations – take some time out to clear your mind and improve your health with EXERCISE! Mental health and exercise – the way to a new future. ‘Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional and mental states’ Carol Welch   Article by By Krystal McCluskey   References www.headspace.org.au Journal of Exercise Physiology: Volume 16, number 4. August 2013 Fitness Australia eJournal – Exercise and Mental Health. Winder 2015 Issue 2 www.abs.gov.au www.betterhealthchannel.vic.gov.au