Exercise and Mental Health

Did you know 1 in 5 persons will experience a mental health problem or illness in a given year? Exercise can play an important role in your mental well-being.

Exercise can optimize mental health by:

1.Boosting happy chemicals - exercise releases endorphins which crate feelings of happiness 2.Reducing stress - exercise increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical which can moderate the brain’s response to stress

3.Increasing relaxation - a moderate workout can facilitate sleeping

4.Improving self-confidence - exercise can boost self-esteem and improve positive self-image 5.Boosting brainpower – cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells and improve overall brain performance

6.Being more productive – regular workouts can increase your overall energy for your daily life

Frequency: How often should I exercise?

Aim to exercise for 2.5 hours per week with a focus on moderate to vigorous aerobic activity for sessions of 10 minutes or more. Activities that target muscles and bones are also recommended at least two days per week.

Intensity: How hard should I exercise?

Moderately intense physical activities should raise your heart rate and make you sweat a little. You should be able to have a conversation. During vigorously intense exercise, your heart rate, sweat level, and breathing rates will increase a lot. Moderate and vigorous intensities would vary between individuals based on age, fitness levels, (dis)abilities and health conditions.

5 Tips to Stay Motivated

1.Plan regular physical activity into your daily routine

2.Set realistic goals and commitments

3.Invite an exercise buddy to join you for your workouts

4.Remind yourself about the benefits of exercise every day Keep your choices for physical activities different and fun

5. Seek out professional advice for support, when necessary.

6. Hire a personal trainer or coach to keep you accountable.

Sources: 1ESSA Exercise & Sports Science Australia, http://www.exercise-physiology.com.au/blog/category/infographics

2Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP, http://www.csep.ca/en/guidelines/get-theguidelines