How Exercise Can Improve Mental Health

Exercise - Running

It’s a well known fact that exercise and physical activity is good for our physical health, helping us to lose weight, build muscle and keep ourselves generally fit and healthy. However, the pandemic has highlighted the fact that exercise is also a great way to improve mental health

During these uncertain and unprecedented times, regularly exercising and taking part in physical activity can not only help to improve your physical fitness whilst your day to day movements are reduced, it can also help to improve your mood and reduce stress.

Discover the full mental health benefits to regular exercise below. Don’t forget to look at our Facebook page and YouTube channel where we are regularly releasing exercises you can easily do from the comfort of your own home.

How physical activity can improve your mental health

There are a wide range of mental health benefits of exercise, including:

  • Improved mood
  • Reduced stress
  • Better sleep and more energy
  • Positive impact on depression and anxiety
  • Improved confidence and self esteem

Any type of physical activity counts – whether you’re going on long walks, or doing aerobic exercise, you can instantly reap the benefits. Below, we go into more detail about how exercise can improve these aspects of mental health.

Improved mood

Regular physical activity and exercise is known to improve your mood. This is due to the extra endorphins released while exercising. Endorphins are natural mood boosters and quickly and easily improve your overall feeling of wellbeing and happiness.

Reduced stress

Similarly to the above, exercise can reduce your stress levels due to the release of natural endorphins. There are lots of obvious signs of stress, such as broken sleep, tense muscles, a pounding pulse and even neck and back pain.

Regular physical activity will help to relax your muscles and relieve any tension you’ve been feeling. The improved mood from the endorphins will also be effective in reducing your stress levels.

Better sleep and more energy

Another one of the effects of exercise and physical activity on our mental health is a better night’s sleep. Moderate to intense workouts are the best types of exercise to really improve both the length and quality of our sleep. However, as little as 30 minutes can really make an impact in how well you sleep at night, as well as how quickly you fall asleep.

Better sleep also gives you better energy levels throughout the day and keeps you feeling energised for longer. As you keep up the regular physical activity, you will notice you can workout for longer and do more intense workouts with ease.

Positive impact on depression and anxiety

There have been various studies on the benefits of exercise on mental health problems such as depression or anxiety, with even the NHS promoting exercise as a useful way to boost your mood if you have mild to moderate depression.

A simple activity, such as going out on a walk, can not only improve your outlook and get you in the fresh air, but the endorphins released are a powerful way of improving your overall wellbeing.

The reduction in stress from regular physical activity is also known to improve anxiety and anxious thoughts. Again this is from the mood boost from endorphins released during exercise.

Improved confidence and self esteem

When taking part in regular workouts and physical activity you will notice yourself become physically fitter and stronger, and an overall improved outlook and sense of wellbeing. Reaching your goals and improving your physical fitness helps to improve your mood, confidence and self esteem.

Where to start with physical exercise

If you’re a beginner to regular physical activity, then don’t push yourself too hard or put too much pressure on yourself. Just start out with easy ways to get in your daily exercise, such as a nice walk before or after work.

Once you’ve built up your confidence you can look at taking part in more intense and harder exercise, such as aerobic exercise, online classes or joining the gym. Take a look at our beginners guide to joining the gym to discover all you need to know about how to get started at the gym.

Start your fitness journey

Bluecoat Sports are proud to offer fully equipped gym facilities to those in Horsham and the surrounding Sussex areas. We have a range of membership options available and have a fully equipped gym and over 70 classes a week.

Whilst we are in a national lockdown, we are posting regular workout videos and fitness classes to our YouTube channel. Take a look at our online classes and start your fitness and mental health journey today.

If you have any questions about our memberships or our online classes, get in touch with our team today – we’d be happy to help!