We all know regular exercise is great for our physical health, but did you also know it can also improve mental health? Regular exercise at any level of intensity may alleviate symptoms of depression and can play an important role in managing depression.
This month The Black Dog Institute is encouraging all Australians to participate in regular exercise as part of Exercise Your Mood Month.
Exercise can benefit your mental wellbeing by:
- increasing endorphins and decreasing stress hormones
- improving sleep, fitness and energy levels
- distracting from worries and interrupting the ‘inactivity cycle’ of depression
- providing social support and reducing loneliness
- increasing a sense of control and self-esteem.
Exercise doesn’t have to be extremely strenuous to provide a benefit.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- If you’re feeling daunted, start small – exercise for at least 10 minutes at a time, aiming for 30 minutes across the day
- Find something you enjoy and feel good about doing
- Exercise with friends or family to help keep you motivated
- Find ways during your day to be active – take the stairs, cycle short distances instead of driving, get off one bus stop early and walk the rest of the way
- Remember, a little activity is better than none!
Megan White, an EPIC Assist Mental Health consultant said “a significant number of our participants have either diagnosed or undiagnosed depression which can be significantly reduced by being active but let’s face it, we can all benefit from some exercise and it feels great”.
Speaking with your health provider is a great place to start, particularly if you have a disability. They can assist with you developing an individualised activity plan.
For more information please visit The Black Dog Institute’s website.
In an emergency call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or 000.