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The mental health benefits of exercise

 

What role does regular exercise play in your mental wellbeing?

There are many benefits of regular exercise with our attentions are often focused on fitness but research indicates that exercise is associated with improvements in mental health.

Just 20 to 40 minutes of aerobic activity results in improvements in anxiety and mood that last for several hours¹.

Can exercise help us to feel more energetic?

The collective effect of exercise actually makes you feel more energetic because regular physical activity increases the blood flow within your body, improving your cardiovascular health and fitness.

Can exercise improve our quality of sleep?

Physical activity increases the time you spend in deep sleep, the most restorative sleep phase, resulting in a boosted immune function, more supportive cardiac health and helps you to control stress². When you are active, the energy you expend not only helps in improving the quality of sleep, it also helps to increase the duration of your sleep.

Can exercise be used as a relaxation technique?

Exercise doesn’t have to be about sweating – Yoga, Pilates and Tai-Chi are all forms of exercise that are good for your body and also help you to relax as they focus on breathing. Breathing slower, more deeply and more focused is known to reduce stress and increase relaxation.

Can exercise increase our self-esteem?

Exercise helps to change the condition of our bodies, making us feel stronger and look the way we want to but it’s not all about weight loss. Exercise can help you to create goals that are unique to you. Achieving your goal is an accomplishment that is sure to boost your self-esteem.

Can exercise improve our memory?

A research article published demonstrated that exercise can reduce the harmful effects of other stressors. The potential effects of exercise on the aging process and on mental health were discussed and the overwhelming evidence present in the literature today suggests that exercise ensures successful brain functioning³. Furthermore, it was concluded that regular exercise releases brain chemicals key for memory, concentration and mental sharpness, as it stimulates the region of the brain that is involved in memory function⁴.

Can exercise release feel-good hormones?

Exercise produces endorphins, the ‘feel-good’ chemical that improves our state of mind. Studies show that exercise is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function⁵.

With more and more people wanting to understand mental health, and how it can be improved, exercise is a clear winner in delivering results.

What are we doing to support colleagues to stay active?

Here at Lifeplus we think it’s vital to support colleagues in staying active, especially whilst we’re working from home.  This is why we’ve set up virtual daily workout sessions to help colleagues get active throughout January.

Each 30 minute session has a focus on movement, mobility, mindfulness and breathing with low impact exercises so colleagues can get involved during their working day. Lifeplus has partnered with a local personal trainer who has been amazing at motivating colleagues during these sessions.

This has been a great way for Lifeplus colleagues to come together and have some much needed fun whilst getting active at home!

 

 

 

1.Springer Link: Exercise and Mental Health
2.The Sleep Doctor: The benefits of exercise for sleep
3.Karger: Exercise and mental health – many reasons to move
4.Harvard Health Publishing: Regular exercise releases brain chemicals key for memory, concentration and mental sharpness
5.Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Physical activity reduces stress
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