Research suggests that regular exercise may increase the level of brain serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in regulating mood, sleep, libido, appetite and other functions .
Problems in the serotonin pathways of the brain have been linked to depression. Exercise can also increase the level of endorphins in the brain which have ‘mood-lifting’ properties.
Here are some of the benefits of exercises on mental health :
- Increases energy levels
- Improves sleep
- Distracts from worries and rumination
- Provides social support and reducing loneliness if exercise is done with other people
- Increases a sense of control and self-esteem, by allowing people to take an active role in their own wellbeing.
Apart from mental health, exercises also helps in prevention of numerous (including life threatening) medical conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, strokes and certain types of cancers.
Exercise recommendations :
- A minimum of 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on most, preferably all, days of the week; An example of ‘moderate intensity’ exercise is brisk walking where as slight increase in breathing and heart rate is noticeable.
- Exercising for at least 10 minutes at a time – the 30 minutes total does not need to be continuous; Short sessions of different activities can be combined to make up a total of 30 minutes exercise or more each day.
- Being active in as many ways as possible each day (e.g. using the stairs instead of a lift).