How Exercise Affects Our Mental Health

While much of the country and the world remains under quarantine or even a lockdown, there is an increasing emphasis on the importance of remaining physically active

In the United States, the stay-at-home orders are less strict than other parts of the world, and often still allow for exercising outdoors. 

Even if you can’t exercise outdoors, finding some physical activity you can do in your home is so important. Physical activity helps your immune system and can also help you combat some of the underlying conditions that tend to lead to more severe outcomes with covid-19, such as hypertension and obesity. 

If you’re not active, it can increase the likelihood of diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and it can also increase muscle stiffness or chronic pain. 

Physical activity is also critical for improving your mental health and well being. 

At a time when we’re all feeling unprecedented levels of stress, the importance of maintaining our mental health can’t be overstated.

The following are some things to know as far as how exercise affects our mental health. 


There are some studies that have found exercising can be as effective as a treatment for mild to moderate depression as some antidepressant medications. 

For example, a team at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found running 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour lowered the risk of major depression by 26%

If you are struggling to maintain your sobriety, which may be especially challenging right now, exercise can help in that area too.

When you exercise, it can reduce the inflammation in your brain and create new patterns of activity that help you feel calm and boost your sense of well-being. 

Exercise also releases endorphins that make you feel good. 

If you’re struggling with spending so much time at home right now, exercise can also create a sense of structure in your day and help you break out from a cycle of negative thoughts. 


Anxiety is an incredibly common condition among Americans.

Exercise can help you through the release of endorphins, and it can give you a boost of energy, mentally and physically. 

You can also integrate mindfulness into your exercise routine, which can help you combat your anxiety in two ways.

Other Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Even if you don’t deal with a specific mental health condition like anxiety or depression, exercise can promote a better overall sense of well-being.

Some of the potential mental health benefits of exercise include:

  • Getting regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and also get more quality sleep. Sleep is vital to all areas of your health, and it can give your immune system a boost. 
  • When you have an exercise routine, it can improve your self-esteem and sense of self-worth. You’ll feel better about not just your outward appearance when you’re physically active and fit, but about your ability to achieve goals. 
  • Exercise can help to improve your cognitive abilities and your memory. This is because physical activity can stimulate your brain to make new cells and it can also prevent declines related to aging. 
  • If you find yourself struggling with physical and mental fatigue, try exercising more because it may help boost your energy. 

Something Is Better Than Nothing

Sometimes when it comes to working out, we can become burdened by the idea that if we’re not going all out then our efforts aren’t worth it, and that’s not true. Even exercising for short bursts of 5 to 10 minutes at a moderate intensity can do wonders for your mental and physical health. 

If you can start short and easy, it makes it mentally easier to begin a new routine. Then you can gradually work your way up as you’re ready. 

If you can find a way to exercise that you enjoy, it will also help you stick with it. Maybe that means that you do at-home workouts, or perhaps you find that you like walking or running outside. 

If you aren’t disciplined, make yourself accountable by involving other people. This might mean joining a group exercise class or boot camp or hiring a trainer. 

You can even find online group classes or personal training online right now, during the coronavirus pandemic. 

If you do one thing for yourself today or this week, try to make it incorporating physical activity into your daily routine. Your body and your mind will see benefits from doing so. 

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  1. Time pkp inilah sgat penting utk jaga kesihatan mental kita.. nice sharing kak ^^
    Btw sy dah masukkan blog akak dlm senarai bloglist sy~ Sy ucapkan salam ramadan buat kak Mia sekeluarga :)

    1. haah.. time pkp ni kena jaga kesihatan fizikal dan mental. selamat berpuasa juga tika...

  2. Mmg stress bila terperuk di rumah je. Hehe

    Jemput join contest

    1. huhuhu.. takleh buat apa... kena pelbagaikan aktiviti di rumah...

  3. Betul, bersenam bukan je baik utk kesihatan malahan membantu menyihatkan badan disamping dpt memberi kesihatan pada mental kita