The mental health benefits of exercise

Health & Wellbeing -

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. It all comes down to processes in the brain. According to the Australian Medical Association position statement – physical activity 2014, it states that due to the release of endorphins, physical activity can improve mood. Regular participation in physical activity improves both short- and long- term psycho-social wellbeing by reducing feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. There is scientific evidence to suggest physical activity can alleviate the symptoms of depression and it may also be useful in the treatment of mild to moderate depressive disorder.   

Exercising for the brain

Endorphins aren’t the only reason why exercise is great for the mind. According to Healthdirect, 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. 

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 exercise every day. This might mean a brisk walk to the shops rather than taking the bus, joining a social sports team after work or hitting the pool for some laps. 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. Since the seasons are about to change, why not take a look at our blog on exercises to keep up over the winter for some inspiration.

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 adding sports cover to your income protection insurance so that, if the worst should happen, you can recover safe in the knowledge that you have an alternative source of income to protect your family. 

If you’re looking for an even bigger thrill, consider adding adventure sports cover to your Life Insurance policy and scuba dive, or kayak to your heart’s content.

 

To find out what type of cover suits your lifestyle, use our Cover Builder tool.

 

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