• Jason Pearce

The mental health benefits of exercise

Exercise can be incredibly beneficial for the body, but it's also great for the mind. So what are you waiting for? Get moving!

We all know the feeling - that buzzy, warm glow we get after exercise. Whether it's a gentle jog, playing footy with the kids or lifting a personal best, exercising makes us feel good. But it isn't just the smug satisfaction of knowing we've been active for the day (although this is pretty nice too) – there's a scientific reason why moving our bodies makes us happy. 

It all comes down to processes in the brain. According to the Australian Medical Association, exercising releases neurotransmitters into the brain called endorphins and serotonin. These chemicals have mood boosting properties that leave you with the so-called 'runners' high’. Endorphins help to encourage positive feelings and can provide relief from conditions like anxiety for hours after exercise is over. 

Exercising for the brain

Endorphins aren’t the only reason why exercise is great for the mind. According to Health Direct, a raised heart rate during exercise pumps more blood to your brain, increasing your ability to think clearly and helping to improve your memory skills.i

Wearing yourself out with physical activity is bound to help you sleep better at night. This can lead to a number of health benefits for both the body and the mind, and everyone knows how a good night’s sleep can enhance your mood! 

Exercising for you

Keeping fit and active is an important part of building and nurturing self-esteem. The process of training and seeing improvement in skills or changes to your physique is hugely beneficial for confidence, not to mention the mood-boosting properties of being outdoors in nature or spending time with friends playing social sports. 

How much exercise should I be doing?

HealthDirect suggests a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise every day. You can make up 30 minutes over the day by combining shorter 10-15 minute sessions. 

Here are some ideas to get you started:

try a brisk walk to the shops rather than taking the bus

join a social sports team after work

hit the pool for some laps

instead of meeting a friend for coffee, go for a walk in the park

It’s important to find the type of exercise that suits your preferences and lifestyle – that way you’re far more likely to keep it up.i

Make sure you’re protected

When trying new sports and getting active outside, it’s important that you have the right protection in place. Consider income protection insurance so that, if the worst should happen, you can recover safe in the knowledge that you may be eligible for an alternative source of income to protect your family. 

Call us today and we can discuss your options.