Other Mental And Emotional Benefits Of Being Involved In Physical Activity & Exercise
Continuing along with some of the more impactful ways that physical activity and exercise can help with some mental health conditions, here are a few ways it can also help on a mental and emotional level:
- Sharper memory and thinking. The same endorphins that make you feel better also help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp for tasks at hand. Doing different physical activities and exercises also stimulates the growth of new brain cells and helps prevent age-related decline.
- Higher self-esteem. Regular physical activity and/or exercise is an investment in your mind, body, and soul. When it becomes habit, it can foster your sense of self-worth and make you feel strong and powerful. You’ll can feel better about your appearance and, by meeting even small exercise goals, you’ll feel a sense of achievement.
- Better sleep. Even short bursts of exercise in the morning or afternoon can help regulate your sleep patterns. If you prefer to exercise at night, relaxing exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching can help promote sleep.
- More energy. Yes it may seem counterintuitive to be physically active or exercising, but increasing your heart rate several times a week will give you more get-up-and-go. Start off with just a few minutes of exercise a day, and increase your workout as you feel more energized.
- Stronger resilience. When you are faced with mental or emotional challenges in life, exercise can help you cope in a healthy way, instead of resorting to alcohol, drugs, or other negative behaviors that ultimately only make your symptoms worse. Regular physical activity and exercise can also help boost your immune system and reduce the impact of stress.
How To Reap The Mental Health Benefits Of Physical Activity & Exercise
Wondering just how active you need to be to get a mental health boost? It’s probably not as much as you think and easier than you may think. You don’t need to devote hours out of your busy day, train at the gym, sweat buckets, or run mile after monotonous mile.
You can reap all the physical and mental health benefits of being physical active / exercise with 30-minutes of moderate exercise five times a week. Two 15-minute or even three 10-minute exercise sessions can also work just as well. And those 10 minutes could be from where you park your vehicle and walk to the grocery store!
Even a little bit of activity is better than nothing
If that still seems intimidating, don’t despair. Even just a few minutes of physical activity are better than none at all. If you don’t have time for 15 or 30 minutes of exercise, or if your body tells you to take a break after 5 or 10 minutes, for example, that’s okay, too.
Start with 5- or 10-minute sessions and slowly increase your time. The more you exercise, the more energy you’ll have, so eventually you’ll feel ready for a little more.
The key is to commit to do some moderate physical activity—however little—on most days. As exercising becomes habit, you can slowly add extra minutes or try different types of activities. If you keep at it, the benefits of exercise will begin to pay off.
How do you feel about the other health and mental health benefits of being physically active and doing exercise can contribute to you or a family member or a friend? Let me know.
Keep the conversation going. I will do another blog post about identifying some potential obstacles to being physically active or doing exercise. Until then, help with the Bell Let’s Talk campaign and check-in tomorrow.
Francois, MES, CLT, KTP, HBPE
Founder & Chief Medical Exercise Specialist @