Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health

couple lunging in the park

By: Brian Tababa, PT, DPT.

How does exercise impact mental health?

Now more than ever, it is important to highlight the benefits of exercise and physical activity on our mental health. Mental health involves an individual’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Furthermore, there are many factors that contribute to the status of an individual’s mental health. As physical therapists, we focus on improving the brain’s natural chemistry through exercise.

How the brain responds to exercise

When we exercise, natural chemicals called neurotransmitters are released in the brain.

  1. Serotonin positively impacts mood
  2. Norephinephrine improves alertness and focus
  3. Dopamine increases motivation
  4. Endorphins are “feel-good” chemicals

The link between exercise and stress

Research shows that exercise decreases stress and reduces anxiety and depression.

  1. Improves confidence
  2. Encourages participation in positive social interactions
  3. Provides healthy coping mechanisms

Physical Therapy helps

Whether you are a beginner or a competitive athlete, being consistent is the most important thing. Physical therapists help by holding you accountable and working together to reach your goals.

Getting Started

For beginners, getting starting can be hard. But, we are here to help! Here are 3 tips that assist with getting started.

  1. Set a Goal: Understand what you want to achieve by exercising
  2. Pick an Activity: Make sure to have fun!
  3. Pro Tip: Exercise with a buddy! Pick a family or friend who will exercise with you