Benefits of Exercise in Relation to Mental Health

  • Reduce Stress – Exercises increased concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s responses to stress.
  • Boost Happy Chemicals – Exercise releases endorphins which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Studies have shown that exercise can even alleviate symptoms among the clinically depressed and improve mental health.
  • Improved Self-Confidence – On a very basic level physical fitness can boost self-esteem and can improve positive self-image.
  • Enjoy the Great Outdoors – Vitamin D acquired from soaking up the sun (while wearing sunscreen of course) can lessen the likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms.
  • Prevent Cognitive Decline – Diet and exercise can help improve mental health, shoring up the brain against cognitive decline that begins after the age of 45. Working out especially between the ages of 25 and 45, boosts the chemicals in the in the brain that support and prevent degeneration of the hippocampus which is essential in memory and learning.
  • Alleviate Anxiety – Various studies have shown that cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells and improve general brain performance.
  • Sharpen Memory – Regular physical activity boosts memory and the ability to learn new things by increasing production of cells in the hippocampus.
  • Increase Relaxation – For some a moderate workout can be the equivalent of a sleeping pill even with people with insomnia.
  • Be More Productive – Research has shown that workers who take the time to exercise on a regular basis are more productive and have more energy than their more sedentary peers.

Being physically active is essential in developing health and wellbeing, including in the promotion of good mental health. As school pressure increases with examinations and terminal assessments we should be advocating more physical activity not less, in order to support students in what can be a very stressful and challenging time.


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