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Many people say they work out for their mental health in addition to their physical health. While that may not be everyone’s reason, scientific evidence shows exercise suits a person’s mental health, not just physical health. Working out can help reduce a person’s risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and cancer risk. It can also help those suffering from stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia. It can also allow individuals maintain a healthy weight and build muscle mass. While these benefits may seem obvious, there are many mental benefits to getting in a good sweat. The link between exercise and mental health may be complicated, but the good feelings after a workout cannot be denied. 

Physical Impacts The Mental

Having better physical health can cause a person to feel better about themselves. Regular exercise can reduce stress, reduce symptoms of mental health conditions, and aid in recovery from mental health issues. This is because the ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins and serotonin, are released with exercise. Exercise helps to improve sleep, which is essential for managing mood. Sense of control, coping ability, and self-esteem can also be enhanced through training. Energy levels are increased, and muscle tension is reduced, helping people feel more relaxed. Focusing on moving can distract the brain from negative thought patterns. It can also create opportunities for people to get outside and interact with others, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation. 


Strenuous exercise or long workouts are not necessary to see these health benefits. Studies have shown that low or moderate-intensity exercise is enough to make a difference. The recommendation is to be active most days, aiming for 2.5-3 hours of moderate physical exercise per week. Any exercise is better than none. Leisurely walking, stretching, yoga, and housework all give mild workouts. Jogging, fast cycling, and team sports are great ways to get vigorous physical activity but are not the only ways to obtain health benefits from moving. Getting started with exercise can seem intimidating. Creating a plan to start a routine that is easy to stick with is a great way to begin. 

Get Outdoors

Exercising outdoors may provide more mental benefits. Recent studies have found that people report higher enthusiasm, pleasure, and self-esteem when walking outside. They are also more likely to exercise again than people who stay indoors. Those exercising outside also do it more often and for longer bouts than those working indoors. Exercising outside provides more exposure to the sun, which increases serotonin, helping with anxiety and depression. This is due to cues from the sun to areas in a person’s retina, triggering the release of this chemical. While exercising outdoors is not necessary to obtain health benefits, there is an increased benefit. 


Many people talk about the many benefits of exercising, including mental benefits. There is a reason people feel better when they move and continually exercise. Chemicals in the brain are released when exercising, and simply feeling more fit can aid in a person’s mental well-being. There are many reasons to exercise, and mental well-being is one of them.