Fitness: How exercise can help with common mental health problems




Men typically find it difficult to open up about common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. I should know, as I’ve had my own struggles too, and that’s why I want to talk to you about the benefits of exercise. In my experiece as a Personal Trainer, working with a wide variety of clients, I’ve observed first hand that exercise isn’t just good for physical health, it has the power to transform mental health too. I’ve seen regular exercise reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, boost self-confidence, improve cognitive function, reduce stress and improve sleep.

Regular exercise can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Physical activity releases endorphins, which are feel good chemicals in the brain. Endorphins can improve mood, reduce anxiety and help you feel more relaxed.

Regular exercise can boost self-confidence. As you set and achieve your fitness goals, you’ll feel more confident in your abilities. You may also see improvements in your body composition, which boost your self-esteem and body image.

Regular exercise can improve cognitive function, including memory, attention and focus. Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain which can improve brain function. Exercise has also been shown to stimulate new brain cells, which is essential for brain health.

Regular exercise can reduce stress. When you exercise, your body releases hormones that can help you feel more relaxed and calmer. Exercise can also help you cope with stress more effectively, which can improve your mental health.

Regular exercise can improve sleep and help regulate your body’s circadian rhythms, which can help you fall asleep soundly. Better sleep can improve your mood, energy levels and overall wellbeing.

If you want to make training a regular part of your life the best time to start a consistent habit is when you are feeling well. If you struggle with depression or anxiety it can take an immense amount of strength to do anything, so start in anyway that you can. Whether its running, dancing, or lifting weights, make time for yourself and your mental health. Believe me, the feeling of accomplishment and the sense of calm that comes from training are well worth it.

Main Photo Credit: Eric Masur via Unsplash

Medical Disclaimer: This content is for general information purposes only and does not intend to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Mark Ames

Ex-Marine, Mark Ames, is the director of Taunton-based Pure Performance Personal Training.

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