Exercise helps with weight control, energy, fitness, blood pressure, heart health, diabetes, and so on. It is one of the foundation-elements of healthy living. But we all know that. Don’t we? (If you’re not sure please-please-please read more on the general physical benefits of exercise). What fewer people know is that exercise is good for your mental wellbeing too. Here are a few points to consider:
- Active people suffer less anxiety and depression than inactive people.
- Exercise has been shown to be effective in the treatment of clinical depression, alongside counselling and medication.
- Exercise has been shown to improve mood in non-depressed people (not just in depressed people).
- Exercise (just not late in the evening) has been shown to improve sleep.
- Exercise has been linked to improved self esteem
- Exercise has been linked to improved cognitive function (concentration, problem solving, memory)
To get these benefits you’ll want to do about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week – running, cycling, swimming, aerobics are all good options. Ideally you’ll train on alternate days with at least one-to-two rest days per week. And you will start by doing MUCH less than this if you have been inactive for more than 3 months.
So if you are relaxed, happy, sleeping well, feel good about yourself and confident you are mentally sharp as pin….and of course you’re fit with the cardiovascular system of an olympian…….aaaaah, er, yes….we rather thought not! In truth there are just so many reason to exercise it’s almost madness not to (pun intended, offence not) and the mental health benefits are both life-changing and life-saving. Enough said.