Exercise and mental health
Each year thousands of pounds are spent on medications to treat conditions such as anxiety and depression. These medications often have negative side effects. Exercise is an alternative treatment that is low cost and has few side effects.
Physical activity can have a positive effect on aspects of mental health and psychological well-being, such as depression, mood and cognitive function.
There are various ways in which exercise can benefit mental health. Firstly, exercise can prevent or reduce the extent of mental illnesses such as depression. Secondly, exercise can enhance mood and reduce stress levels, thus allowing us to tackle daily challenges in a more positive, optimistic and constructive way.
There is no one theory or hypothesis that has been universal accepted to explain the link between exercise and mental health. Instead several different hypotheses have been proposed. Which can be dived into two categories: Physical or bio-physical and psychosocial.
Nobody is suggesting that to help improve your mood you need to start training like an Olympian, cardiovascular exercise for 30 minutes a day such as a walk in the park maybe with friends can have a huge positive impact. For those who are unable to walk 30 minutes in one go this can be divided into manageable bite size times just enough to get your heart beating at a faster pace and too feel a little warmer.
So, with proven statistics of exercise having a positive impact on mood and overall health. Go for it, its free no special equipment needed. Don’t think it will work for you? Why not try for 4 weeks keep a mood diary and see if it does have a positive impact, remember not to stop any medication without discussing this with your GP.