It is a well-known fact that the more exercise and physical activity you do the better your physical health will get, what some people don’t realise is how good physical activity can be for your mental health.

There has been many studies and tests to determine whether exercise can improve your mental health. Just looking from the science side of things, exercise is proven to releases chemicals in your brain called endorphins. These chemicals reduce your perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling in the body like that of morphine. This feeling which is commonly known as “Runners High” can be accompanied with a brighter look at life and a more positive outlook. Scientists have also proven that physical activity can cure mild depression as it can protect people from onset symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Stepping away from the science side, the social aspect of exercise and physical activity can improve a person’s mental health. Getting out of the house more, doing something different, joining a new club, all these things can help you when you’re feeling down. Just knowing your part of a group and part of a club can help you feel less alone.

Physical activity doesn’t necessarily mean running a marathon or competing in the “Tour De France” like some people may think. While these things are technically physical activity, so is getting up and cycling or walking to work, going a treadmill twice a week, cycling at your own pace or even just going for a light walk, these can all play a factor when it comes to improving your mental health.
There are loads of benefits that you can gain from just participating in even light physical activity and you will notice changes.

    Benefits can include:

• Reduced Stress
• Reduced Fatigue
• Improved Sleep
• Motivation to Succeed
• A Healthier Appetite
• And Just Having Fun and Becoming More Social

The rate of depression and anxiety in Ireland is high but with a little bit of regular exercise we can look to help reduce that rate one person at a time. Some people suffer more than others and sometimes physical activity may not be enough, but it is a start and it is a step on the road to recovery.
Just get out there, give the dog a walk or dust off your runners and just give exercise a go and you never know, you may feel a little bit better about yourself every day!