By Nick Nyman, Physiotherapist

How exercise builds up our mental health

When we think about exercise, we often think about getting leaner, fitter and stronger. But what about the effect it has on our most important organ – our brain?

We often neglect the tremendous mental health benefits of exercise and it’s becoming more apparent that regular exercise and good mental health go hand-in-hand. Exercise can help treat a wide range of issues from stress and anxiety to depression.

The mental health benefits of exercise

Exercise can help your mental health in a number of different ways:

  • Feel-good chemicals: exercise triggers the release of serotonin, endorphins and many of the feel-good neurotransmitters associated with reducing stress and low mood.
  • Release muscle & joint tension: sometimes low mood or stress can manifest as muscle and joint aches, easing these symptoms with pilates can ease the stress that causes them.
  • A good night’s sleep: exercise has been shown to help facilitate a better night’s sleep through the release of chemicals and relaxation of muscles helping you get a restful sleep.
  • A welcome distraction: sitting without thoughts for too long can for some people lead to fixating on them. Exercise allows you to break those negative thought patterns that can feed the low mood
  • Avoid isolation: Group Pilates classes can be a great way to interact with those around you helping ease feelings of isolation.
  • Exercise and achievement: exercise is great for giving us a goal to aim for. Pilates focuses on progressing you towards your goals in a structured and safe way.

How much exercise is required to improve mental health?

The World Health Organisation recommends that adults aged between 18 and 64 should aim for around 150-300 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week, including two or more days of muscle strengthening exercises.

Pilates is a combination of control, strength and light aerobic exercise and can be an excellent way to work towards your weekly exercise goals and the WHO recommendations! Pilates is especially excellent for those getting back into exercise wanting a safe and supervised environment to commence their exercise journey.

Start small, and build up to your goal!

To make an appointment with Nick, please call (08) 6389 2947 or click here to book online.

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