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exercise for mental health

Benefits of Exercise to Improve Mental Health

We all know that exercise is good for the body, but it’s also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal.1 It is a powerful medicine for common mental health challenges.

Exercise for Anxiety

To relieve the tension and ease the stress you’re feeling when suffering from anxiety, yoga is an effective routine to get into. Doing yoga on a regular basis is beneficial for reducing stress levels and controlling your typically uncontrollable negative thoughts. Adding mindfulness to your routine will help to control the awful flow of constant worries running through your head.

Exercise for Depression

While yoga is beneficial for reducing the effects of depression, team sports and group exercises can help with relationships, affording opportunities to meet people and develop friendships. Such exercises can include dancing, basketball, softball, group classes at a gym, weekly meetups, and more. Blood circulation to the brain and happiness from the people surrounding you can greatly improve a depressive mood.

Mental and Emotional Benefits of Exercise

While pumping endorphins into your body through exercise, you’ll not only feel happier, but you’ll also notice improvements in your self-esteem, memory, and even your sleeping patterns. When you’re exercising for mental health, you can reap the benefits of even short bursts of activity.

Find Your Interests

There are several physical activities you can choose from that can suit your interests. While it may take some time to get it right, don’t give up – because your mental health depends on it!

Different Exercises to Improve Mental Health

  • Yoga
  • Walking
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Boxing
  • Pilates
  • Weight Training

At Counseling of Southwest Florida, our mental health services include taking time out of the day to exercise and focus on your mind. If you’re ready to take the first step towards a healthier mindset, contact our treatment specialists today. We’re looking forward to speaking with you!


Additional Reading

Mental Illness in Young Adults
How to Deal with Seasonal Depression



  1. US National Library of Medicine – Exercise for Mental Health