Exercise For Good Mental Health

We all know the importance of exercise for our physical health, to keep our bodies strong and in good working order but you may not know the importance that exercise plays in our mental health as well.  Having a regular exercise routine in your life can not only keep you physically fit, but it can also improve your mood, self-esteem, motivation, and positivity.


Unless you overdo it, exercise has only benefits.  Whether you’re participating in a team sport or something more solitary, a vigorous exercise routine you’ll see positive results.

It gives you a “high”.  When you exercise, your body releases endorphins and serotonin which are feel-good chemicals in the brain.

It puts you on a routine.  Depression can make you feel like you don’t have the energy to get out of bed, let alone leave the house.  A regular exercise routine in most cases forces you out of your house and it also takes the decision a little bit out of your hands so you’re more likely to go.

You’ll sleep better.  When you exercise, you sleep better and a good night’s sleep brings with it lots of good mental health benefits.

It builds confidence. Exercise allows you to set achievable goals.  Reaching a new goal can make you feel good about yourself and feel more positive.  Even if you start small, you’re doing something and should be proud of that!

It helps you be more positive.  Exercise helps your mind concentrate on something on doing a positive activity instead of focusing on negative thoughts.

It’s a great social activity.  Exercising with a friend, be it on a sports team, side-by-side at the gym or walking together allows you to have a shared social experience.  People who have Major Depressive Disorder or other mental disorders often isolate themselves from society.  Exercise is a great way to connect with another person.

Exercises for Better Mental Health

If you find an exercise that you enjoy doing, the better the chances of sticking with it.  If you were on a basketball team in high school, look for an adult team to join.  Enjoy the outdoors?  Hiking, walking, or biking are good choices.  Join a gym.  Find a yoga or pilates studio near you.  Here are some of the best exercises for better mental health:

  • Walking.  Walking is one of the best exercises for your mental health.  Walking can be a quiet, solitary activity that calms you or can be done with a walking buddy which provides positive social interaction.  If you can walk outside, you also get Vitamin D and fresh air.
  • Yoga.  Yoga can greatly improve your mental health.  Yoga improves strength and balance and focuses on measured, controlled breathing which brings calmness and relaxation.  It makes you more mindful and aware of your body and mind.  Yoga works on improving your core strength and after a yoga session, your body and mind should feel both relaxed and energized.
  • Resistance Training.  Research has shown that even low-moderate resistance training can decrease anxiety, improve cognition, and may even impact your central nervous system.  All of these things can improve mood but weight training, especially when you begin to see some results, can greatly boost your self-esteem.

You should aim for 30 minutes of vigorous exercise a day for five days a week.  However, any activity that you do can help.  If you can’t settle on one activity, consider joining your local YMCA.  Aside from a gym and a pool, the Y usually offers many different classes or sports teams you can join for little or no more than your membership fee.

Exercise as Treatment

Think of your exercise routine as an important part of your treatment instead of a chore.  Just like you see your therapist and take medications (if you do), regular exercise is part of your treatment that you need to do to receive benefits to your mental health.  All of these things working together can help fight depression and improve your mental health.


If you suffer from depression and medication isn’t working, Gateway TMS may be able to help.  Our caring staff guides patients through the process, from initial consultation to treatment, answering any questions and providing treatment in a relaxed and calming atmosphere.  Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation can finally give you relief from your symptoms of depression. Call Gateway TMS today at (314) 909-8487 and find out if TMS is right for you.