7 Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health


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Page last updated: 20/11/2022

7 Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health

In this article, we will look at the benefits of exercise on mental health and how exercise can improve your mental health. This article also explores the impact of exercise on some major mental health conditions.

What are the benefits of exercise on mental health?

Exercise has a plethora of benefits on mental health and some of them are:

  • Better Sleep
  • Decreased Stress
  • Improved resilience
  • Boosts feel-good hormones
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Boost in cognitive function
  • Helps with depression and anxiety

Better sleep

Exercise will help you get a decent night’s sleep if you’re having trouble sleeping. Physical exercise raises body temperature, which can help to relax the mind, resulting in lessmore sleep and less of counting sheep.

Brief sessions of exercise early in the morning or late in the afternoon will calm you down and help you sleep better. Relaxing workouts or yoga and mild stretching will help you sleep well if you choose to exercise at nighttime.

And for those who suffer from insomnia, a mild exercise can be as effective as a sleeping pill. The body’s internal temperature is raised by moving 5 to 6 hours before bed. When the body temperature returns to normal after a few hours, the body knows it’s time to hit the sack.

Decreased stress

Have you had a really stressful day at work? For a short workout, go for a walk or go to the gym. Stress relief is one of the most widely accepted mental benefit of exercise. Working out will assist in the management of both physical and emotional stress. Exercise also boosts norepinephrine concentrations, a hormone that helps to regulate the brain’s stress response.

Reduced stress levels are another psychological benefit of exercise, which could make us both healthier and happier. Increased heart rate will help mitigate stress-induced brain damage by triggering the release of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine or noradrenaline, which not only increase cognitive function but also improve mood, and thinking capacity.

7 Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health

Improved resilience

When faced with psychological or emotional problems, exercise will help you develop stamina and cope in a healthier way, rather than turning to alcohol, medications, or other unhealthy habits that only exacerbate the symptoms. Regular activity will also aid in the strengthening of the immune system and the reduction of the negative effects of stress.

Improved self-esteem

Physical exercise can increase self-esteem and enhance positive self-image on a base level. Exercise, regardless of weight, height, gender, or age, will easily improve a person’s sense of self, or self-worth.

Exercise on a regular basis is an improvement in the mind, body, and spirit. It will boost your self-esteem and make you feel strong and capable if you develop the habit. You’ll feel so much better about yourself and experience a feeling of accomplishment by achieving even tiny fitness targets.

Boost in cognitive function

Exercise improves brain power in a variety of areas, from boosting intelligence to improving memory. Cardiovascular exercise appears to produce new brain cells (a mechanism known as neurogenesis) and increase general brain function in mice and humans.

It also protects against cognitive decline and memory loss by enhancing the function of the hippocampus, the brain’s learning and memory center. Physical exercise has also been shown to increase imagination and mental energy in studies. So, if you’re looking for motivation, a stroll or a jog could be exactly what you need.

Boosts feel-good hormones

It’s difficult to push yourself for a few miles on the treadmill, but it’s extremely rewarding! Exercise has been shown to release endorphins, which are the happy and euphoric chemicals. Exercise has been found in studies to help people with clinical depression. As a result, doctors advise those suffering from depression or anxiety to schedule lots of gym time.

Helps with depression and anxiety

Exercise has been shown in studies to improve mood and reduce effects of depression and anxiety. Physical exercise increases endorphin levels, the body’s well-known “feel-good” hormone that stimulates sensations of pleasure and euphoria and is released by the brain and the spinal cord.

Impact of Exercise on Mental Health Conditions

Here we will explore the impact of exercise on some major mental health conditions.

Impact of Exercise on Stress

Have you ever wondered how the body reacts to stress? Your muscles, especially those in your face, spine, and shoulders, can be tight, causing back or neck pain, as well as excruciating headaches. 

You may experience chest tightness, a racing heart, or muscle cramps. Insomnia, heartburn, stomachache, diarrhea, or excessive urination are also possible side effects.

Exercising is a good way to get out of this rut. Physical exercise helps to calm the muscles and reduce pain in the body, in addition to releasing endorphins in the brain. Because the body and mind are so intertwined, when the body is healthier, your mind may as well benefit from it.

Impact of Exercise on Depression

Exercise has been shown in studies to be as effective as antidepressant treatment in treating mild to severe depression and that too without the side effects. 

For instance, a new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health discovered that running for 15 minutes or walking for an hour each day reduced the chances of major depression by 26%.

For a variety of causes, exercise is an effective antidepressant. Most interestingly, it encourages a variety of brain enhancements, such as neural growth, decreased inflammation, and new activity patterns that foster feelings of peace and well-being. It also causes the brain to release endorphins, which are potent chemicals that rejuvenate you and make you feel healthy.

Impact of Exercise on Anxiety

Exercise is an anti-anxiety therapy that is both natural and successful. Via the production of endorphins, it relieves anxiety and stress, increases physical and emotional vitality, and improves overall well-being.

Pay attention to the sensation of your feet touching the floor, the speed of your heart, or the feel of the breeze against your skin, for example. You’ll not only boost your physical wellbeing better by incorporating this mindfulness element, by really reflecting on your body and how it feels when you exercise but you’ll still be able to break the stream of obsessive troubling thoughts rushing through your brain.

Impact of Exercise on ADHD

Regular exercise is one of the most easy and straightforward approaches to alleviate ADHD symptoms and increase focus, motivation, cognition, and mood. 

Physical exercise increases dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels in the brain, both of which influence concentration and attention. Exercise acts in a similar manner to ADHD drugs like Ritalin and Adderall in this regard.

Impact of Exercise on PTSD and Trauma

Research shows that concentrating on the body and how it responds when exercising will enable the nervous system to become “unstuck” and help to step out of the immobilization stress reflex associated with PTSD or trauma. 

Instead of encouraging your mind to drift, focus on the actual movements in your joints and muscles, as well as the inside, as you move and shift your body during a workout.


In this article, we looked at the benefits of exercise on mental health and how exercise can improve your mental health. This article also explored the impact of exercise on some major mental health conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions: 7 Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health

Why does exercise improve mood?

Serotonin (which helps your brain control mood, sleep, and appetite) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (which helps your brain stabilize mood, sleep, and appetite) are both increased by exercise (which helps neurons to grow). Exercising lowers immune system chemicals which may exacerbate depression.

Why is mental health so important?

Our emotional, psychological, and social well-being are also part of our mental health and well-being. It has an effect on the way we think, behave, and act. It also influences how we deal with pressures, interact with others, and make good decisions. Mental well-being is critical at all stages of life, including infancy, puberty, and adulthood.

How does exercise affect your emotions?

Exercise causes the brain to produce hormones that enhance your mood and help you feel more calm. Endorphins are feel-good hormones released by the brain and circulated throughout the body. Physical exercise helps to alleviate anxiety and depression while also boosting self-esteem.

How does stress affect your mental health?

When stress gets too much and lasts too long, the chances of mental health and physical complications increases. Long-term stress raises the risk of mental health issues like anxiety and depression, as well as drug abuse issues, sleep issues, discomfort, and physical symptoms like muscle strain.

Does walking help with mental health?

A good walk can work like a charm to benefit your mental health!
It enhances self-awareness and self-esteem, as well as mood and sleep consistency, while also reducing stress, anxiety, and fatigue. People who are physically active have a 30% lower chance of being stressed, and remaining active enables those who are depressed to heal and thrive.

What happens to your brain when you exercise?

When you workout, your body releases happy hormones like dopamine and endorphins in your brain. Not only does exercise help the brain release feel-good hormones, but it also makes it expel chemicals that make you feel nervous and anxious.

What are the effects of exercise on depression?

Exercise is extremely beneficial for people struggling with depression and regular exercise might help alleviate depression and depression by releasing feel-good hormones called endorphins, which are endogenous cannabinoids (natural cannabis-like brain chemicals) and various other natural brain chemicals are also released which may improve your mental health and well being.


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