Mental Health Week: The Connection Between Exercise And Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness month to recognize mental health, educate the public, and advocate for policies that support those with mental health illness and their families. Many of us are aware of the physical benefits of physical exercise such as weight control, lower blood pressure, and increased energy just to name a few. But what about the psychological benefits of exercise? From alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety to keeping your memory sharp, there is no shortage of mental health benefits from exercise. To help improve your emotional and overall well-being, try to move your body more regularly to experience the physical and mental benefits of exercising.

How Does Exercise Improve Mental Health?

Exercise is a powerful way to improve mental health for several reasons. It promotes all kinds of activity in the brain including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. The levels of chemicals in the brain such as serotonin (the happy brain chemical messenger), stress hormones, and endorphins change while you are exercising. The feeling as a result of these changes is often referred to as a “runners high.” Exercise also helps you gain confidence and improve your self-esteem while distracting you from negative thoughts. Regular exercise can also improve your sleep which helps with mood control. Exercising does not have to be very strenuous or take a long time. Simply getting outside to go for a walk or doing some simple stretching every morning can go a long way in improving your mental health.

How To Get Started With Exercising
Exercising can seem intimidating at first, especially if it is your first time in a while. Do not let the fear of the unknown drive you away from trying some simple exercise routines. You do not have to put pressure on yourself to join a gym or jump right into exercising everyday. Taking small steps at first will set you up for better success in the future. 

When you first embark on your exercise journey, be sure to choose activities that you enjoy doing. Forcing yourself into a gym setting will cause unnecessary stress and you will not have the motivation to go exercise. If you prefer to be within your home setting, feel free to do so. There are plenty of ways you can exercise in the comfort of your own home. For example, you can perform HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) exercises that can be completed within fifteen minutes. If that seems to be too much at first that is okay. You can instead follow along an online stretching routine or yoga class to move your body. 

There are also online personal training resources available to you. If you would like to be guided through an exercise program and you have specific goals you would like help reaching, a personal trainer can provide the support you need to get there. An online personal trainer will also be there to give you the motivation and hold you accountable to completing your exercise routines. Also, if you just need someone to talk to, personal trainers can be a great resource to just chat about everyday topics while helping you improve your physical fitness. 

Benefits Of Exercise For Mental Health

Reduce Symptoms Of Depression And Anxiety
Did you know that exercise is scientifically proven to be a mood booster? Physical activity kicks up your endorphin levels, the body's famous “feel good” chemical produced by the brain that produces feelings of happiness and euphoria. Exercising to improve mental health is so powerful that it is often recommended by doctors before turning to any form of medication. 

Brain Boost
Not only does exercising fight off feelings of anxiety and depression, it can also improve your memory. Cardiovascular exercise has been shown to create new neurons in the brain, a process called neurogenesis and improve overall brain performance. It also strengthens the hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning) to prevent cognitive decline and memory loss. Physical activity can also boost mental energy and creative thinking. So if you are in need of some inspiration, you may find your solution by going for a short jog or walk.

Improved Self-Esteem
From improving endurance to losing weight and increasing muscle tone, there are plenty of physical achievements provided by exercising. All of those achievements can add up to a boost of self-esteem and confidence. Achieving a goal will give you a feeling of accomplishment which can go a long way in improving your mental health and your ability to stay motivated to keep exercising. 

Find Out The Mental Health Benefits Of Exercising By Hiring A Personal Trainer In Calgary

We are all familiar with the physical benefits of exercising, but we often forget about the mental health benefits it can provide as well. If you struggle with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health problem, try to motivate yourself to move your body at least one per day. By slowly getting into the routine of exercising, you will soon experience the amazing mental health benefits exercising can provide.  

From customized workout plans to around-the-clock support, our personal trainers and coaches at Dreambody Fitness can help you shed pounds, build muscle, hold you accountable, and improve your fitness in record time while keeping your mental health as our #1 priority. To learn more about our weight loss programs and personal training, contact us by calling 1-403-612-3538 or by filling out our online contact form.

Help Is Available
Having a low mood or feeling on edge are common experiences for all of us. However, if these moods persist, it may be that you are experiencing depression or anxiety. If you have these persistent feelings, speak to your doctor to get help.

If you are having suicidal thoughts or know of someone who is, contact the Canadian Suicide Prevention Centre by calling 1-833-456-4566.


Q: How often should I exercise if I am just starting?
A: If you are just starting your exercising journey, get yourself into a routine where you are not forcing yourself to workout. Go for a short walk once per day or stretch in the mornings to get started with your routine. If you begin to get more consistent, then you can start adding in more strenuous exercise routines and more often.

Q: How long does it take to start seeing results in the gym?
A: This answer will vary from person to person depending on their exercise regimes and fitness goals. Most people start to notice results from consistently working out and eating a healthy diet within 3-6 months. 

Q: If my goal is to improve my mental health, can a personal trainer help me with that?
A: Yes, they can. A personal trainer will be there for you every step of the way to motivate you to exercise and offer support to reach your goals. 

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