Health & Wellness Mental Health Over 50s Lifestyle

How Exercise Improves Your Mental Health

October 11, 2016

Most of us accept that to keep physically fit and healthy we need to exercise regularly.  However, regular exercise will also improve our mental health and wellbeing and can reduce depression, stress and anxiety.


How exercise improves your mental health and wellbeing

When we exercise our brain releases the ‘happy hormone’ endorphins.  After exercise you are feeling a natural ‘high’ and we feel a definite lift in our mood.  Trying to exercise each day will improve your mental health and overall wellbeing.

Exercising helps us:

  • sleep better,
  • improves our energy levels,
  • improves our memory and thinking
  • boosts our immune system

How can I motivate myself when I just don’t feel like moving or leaving the house?

We all experience lack of motivation to exercise and if we are feeling anxious or stressed the thought of exercising can be even more overwhelming.  So here are 3 tips to get you started:

 1. Just Move

It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do or how long you exercise for.  Even 10 -15 minutes to get started is better than nothing.  Build up each day until you are doing 30 minutes on most days.  Walking is a great way to get started and it is free!  However, there are so many ways to be active so choose what you enjoy and start moving!  Mix it up to make it interesting.

2. Do some form of exercise that you enjoy

Exercise doesn’t have to be a struggle or chore.  Find something you enjoy and you are more likely to stick to it.

3. Schedule your exercise

Make exercise part of your daily routine – the same as brushing your teeth.  The more you do it, the more it will become part of your lifestyle.  Planning a set time each day will help to keep you on track.

4. Find a friend

Grab a friend and go for a walk instead of a coffee.  Making a commitment to meet someone makes it harder to ‘not turn up’.

5. Have fun with the family

Take the family to the park and kick a ball around or go for a bushwalk.  Spending quality time with your family which includes physical activity sets the whole family up to be healthy and happy.

In the next post, we look at Mindfulness and Mental Health.

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  • Reply Jodie filogomo October 11, 2016 at 09:31

    I really think any kind of exercise has so many benefits!!
    Great article!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 12, 2016 at 14:08

      Exactly Jodie exercise has so many benefits and even just a stroll or any movement is good for you mind, body and soul.

  • Reply Rosemond October 12, 2016 at 05:18

    About to take my dogs for a walk. Walking is my favorite form of therapy. It keeps me sane!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 12, 2016 at 14:13

      A perfect way to exercise your body, mind and soul. Enjoy!

  • Reply Molly Stevens October 13, 2016 at 21:08

    I love to walk and have the habit of walking during my lunch hour. I prefer to go alone since I am with people all day and need the alone time to regroup (I’m an introvert). And I always have ideas popping into my head when I walk for blog ideas or ways to edit something I am writing. It is a wonderful thing to keep the body moving and I’m grateful every day I can do it!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 14, 2016 at 06:24

      Molly, when I worked I would walk at lunchtime and then run home a couple of times a week. During the day it took me out of the office and gave me time to enjoy the moment and forget about the reconciliation I was working on. I feel lucky that I am quite fit and can enjoy exercise it really helps my mental state and I’d be lost without it.

  • Reply Silly Mummy October 14, 2016 at 05:53

    This is really good advice. I always found exercise was very good for reducing stress and raising mood.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 14, 2016 at 06:28

      I can’t live without exercise. A good run really clears my mind and gets rid of all the tension. I always feel on such a high after my PT sessions even though at the time I might be cursing my trainer LOL:)

  • Reply Sizzling Towards 60 Focus on Midlife Mental Health - Sizzling Towards Sixty October 14, 2016 at 07:36

    […] Let’s Get Physical for Improved Mental Health […]

  • Reply Sara October 15, 2016 at 03:58

    Exercise is the best form of antidepressant and it’s free. I’m not sure who said that, but it is true. I’d say for those who lack energy, have knee injuries, or are weighed down mentally by depression, start small. If ten minutes is too much, challenge yourself to walk 50 steps, outdoors (no indoor walking for this) and increase it by 10 each day.

    You’ll be surprised to see the difference in your mood 30 days or 60 days down the road. We crave routine and happiness, walking daily gives us both.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 15, 2016 at 10:51

      Exactly Sara – I’m with you on everything you say. Sometimes I just go for a ten minute walk and that is enough to wake me up. I do love my running though and my friends who I run with. I like your idea of 50 steps and then increase by 10 excellent idea!

  • Reply Janice Wald October 19, 2016 at 13:38

    Hi Sue,
    I heard that also. Mental exercises help ward off Alzheimers.
    Great to see you! Thanks for coming to the Blogger’s Pit Stop Linky Party last week.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric October 21, 2016 at 06:50

      Yes that I’ve heard that too Janice. I’ll have to get into crosswords or sudoko! Thanks for hosting another great week at Blogger’s Pit Stop.

  • Reply Lisa Bond November 2, 2016 at 20:34

    I am a mother and now a nanny ? I have always exercised to keep my mental and physical health in check At 46 I have take up boxing ? I am fit and can enjoy my grandchildren (and give them back)

    My latest boxing video ha

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 3, 2016 at 09:12

      Hi Lisa! I love boxing and just had a session with my PT. It is so important for me to be healthy and fit to enjoy my grandchildren and also it makes us a better and healthier role model for them. I’m off to check out your video.

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