The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Exercise is not just about improving your muscle size or aerobic capacity. Sure, exercise can help to improve your physique, slim your waistline, and even add years to your life, but that’s not what motivates most people to stay active. People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them a sense of well-being. Regular exercise can have a positive impact on energy levels, sleep, memory, and it’s also a powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges. Research indicates that physical activity can help with depression, anxiety. ADHD, stress and more – and you don’t have to be a fitness expert to reap the benefits.

How Much Activity is Enough?

If you’re wondering how much activity is needed to give you a mental health boost, it might not be as much as you think. You can reap all of the physical and mental health benefits of exercise with 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times per week. You can also split it up to two 15 minute sessions or three 10 minute sessions. If that sounds intimidating, it’s important to keep in mind that even a few minutes of exercise is better than none at all. If you don’t have time for 15 – 30 minutes of exercise, or if your body tells you to take a break after 10 minutes, that’s okay! Start with 5-10 minute sessions and slowly increase your time. The key is to commit to some moderate physical activity -even if it’s just a little- on most days. As you make exercise a habit, you can slowly add extra minutes, or try out different types of exercise. If you keep at it, the benefits of exercise will pay off.

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