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Exercise and Mental Health


Mental illness is very common, 1 in 5 Australians between the ages of 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year and almost half (45%) will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Anxiety, depression and substance abuse are the most common and they often occur in combination. Did you know that Australians are more likely to die from suicide than skin cancer? Yet in comparison, we know very little about the process that lead to suicide and when to effectively intervene.

Studies show that for treating mild-moderate depression, exercise can be as effective as talking therapy and medication. Exercise promotes the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain (think endorphins and serotonin), helps you sleep better and gives you a sense of accomplishment. While it is recommended to exercise for 30 minutes on most days of the week, any exercise is better than none. More often than not, motivation is the major barrier to commence exercising and for people with a mental illness it is often even harder to get started. The secret to getting started is by simply taking action, starting small and experience some benefit and build momentum from there.

Call us on  (02) 4385 2079 to book in with an Accredited Exercise Physiologist to help you get started with an exercise program either 1 on 1 or in a group class with like-minded individuals.

Visit https://www.beyondblue.org.au/ for more information on mental health.

@Beyondblueoffical recommend these 6 tips for starting an exercise routine.

  1. Find your reason – ask yourself, “why will exercise make my life better in a meaningful way?”
  2. Start small – simply add a little bit onto what you’re already doing, walk to the end of the street and back or even in the back yard.
  3. Make it part of your routine – timetable exercise into your daily schedule. The more you have to think about doing exercise, the more likely you will decide not to do it
  4. Do something you enjoy – if you don’t like running or going to the gym, you’re unlikely to keep going. Find an activity you enjoy (or hate the least) and you’ll find you’re more likely to keep it up
  5. Set goals and monitor progress – make small, meaningful and achievable goals. For example, on Tuesday I am going to walk for 5 minutes. Once you have achieved your goal, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and makes exercise feel purposeful. Then build on your goals.
  6. Make a commitment to others – it is less likely that you will opt out of exercise if you have a friend or team relying on you.

Most importantly, don’t be self-critical. Simply get started and treat each day as a fresh start, remind yourself it is only human to drop the ball occasionally.

Book an appointment with A Physiotherapist