Exercise & Psychology

How does exercise improve my mood?

Exercise provides a variety of health benefits including; improved aerobic fitness, increased muscle strength, increased bone mineral density, flexibility, less fat mass and a lower risk of cardiovascular, metabolic and respiratory diseases.

Due to these benefits, exercising also assists with enhancing our psychological health and wellbeing. The improved body composition and increased release of endorphins proves to be beneficial to our overall mental health and confidence. Research is showing that exercise is now considered a primary contributor to improvements in psychological and emotional health.

Exercise exerts many positive influences on cognition such as improved reaction time, more accurate responses, controlled attention and an increased ability to accept and control information. This is due to the increased flow of neurotransmitters made readily available during and post exercise. An increase in the production of norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine aids the body in calming down, processing information and reduces the severity and risk of mental health disorders.

What kind of exercise should I be doing?

Moderate exercise has been shown to be most beneficial. Aiming to get the recommended 150 minutes* per week of exercise is enough to feel these positive effects, whether it is yoga, walking, cycling, running, swimming, gym exercises or whatever you may enjoy.
Always make sure that you are doing the right thing by your body and are finding physical activity that you enjoy doing. This will improve your state of mind and encourage you to become a happier and healthier individual.

Emily Tann

B.Sc. – Exercise, Sports and Rehabilitation | Grad. Dip in Clinical Exercise Physiology |

Exercise Consultant/ Exercise Physiologist (ESSAM)

 

Reference

*American College of Sports Medicine – healthy adult physical activity guidelines

  1. Kashihara., T. Maruyama., M. Murota, Y. Nakahara. (2009). Positive Effects of Acute and Moderate Physical Exercise on Cognitive Function. Journal of Psychological Anthropology 28:4 155-164. DOI: 10.2114/jpa2.28.155