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How Exercise Improves Your Mental Health

How Exercise Improves Your Mental Health

By  Sue Loncaric  

Most of us accept that to keep physically fit and healthy we need to exercise regularly. However, regular exercise will also improve our mental health and wellbeing and can reduce depression, stress and anxiety.

How exercise improves your mental health and wellbeing

When we exercise our brain releases the ‘happy hormone’ endorphins. After exercise you are feeling a natural ‘high’ and we feel a definite lift in our mood. Trying to exercise each day will improve your mental health and overall wellbeing.

Exercising helps us:

  • sleep better,
  • improves our energy levels,
  • improves our memory and thinking
  • boosts our immune system

How can I motivate myself when I just don’t feel like moving or leaving the house?

We all experience lack of motivation to exercise and if we are feeling anxious or stressed the thought of exercising can be even more overwhelming. So here are 3 tips to get you started:

1. Just Move

It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do or how long you exercise for. Even 10 -15 minutes to get started is better than nothing. Build up each day until you are doing 30 minutes on most days. Walking is a great way to get started and it is free! However, there are so many ways to be active so choose what you enjoy and start moving! Mix it up to make it interesting.

2. Do some form of exercise that you enjoy

Exercise doesn’t have to be a struggle or chore. Find something you enjoy and you are more likely to stick to it.

3. Schedule your exercise

Make exercise part of your daily routine – the same as brushing your teeth. The more you do it, the more it will become part of your lifestyle. Planning a set time each day will help to keep you on track.

4. Find a friend

Grab a friend and go for a walk instead of a coffee. Making a commitment to meet someone makes it harder to ‘not turn up’.

5. Have fun with the family

Take the family to the park and kick a ball around or go for a bushwalk. Spending quality time with your family which includes physical activity sets the whole family up to be healthy and happy.

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