Active Body, Healthy Mind.

24 Mar 2016

exercise and mental healthWe all know that exercise is good for us. Exercise means we live longer and suffer from less physical illness. That is an established fact. What is less well understood is that exercise is also a boost to your mind.

Exercise is great for your mental health too. Vigorous exercise for at least half an hour three times a week can be just as effective as an antidepressant or a talking therapy for people who are depressed. It is so important, I always encourage my clients to become more physically active to help improve their emotional well-being.

The link between emotional well-being and exercise appears to be stronger in men rather than women. In many ways this seems understandable at a psychological level. Many men take their frustrations onto the track, the football pitch, or the gym and literally work through their emotional issues physically.

There is some evidence, though, that exercise is even linked to reduced risk of dementia.  Nazimek (2009) reported on the research linking exercise and dementia and suggested that, as a guide, regular exercise of the type I mentioned earlier appears to reduce the risk of dementia by 32%. This link is perhaps even more important for men, with one study Dik et al. (2003) (cited by Nazimek, 2009) suggested that exercising between the ages of 15 to 25 years can protect mental functioning later in life in men.

Exercise doesn’t just keep your pulling power higher; it also helps keep you sane.

 

Nazimek, J. (2009) Active body, healthy mind.  The Psychologist  Volume 22 Number 3 March 2009 pp. 206-208.

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Phil Tyson PhD

Dr Phil Tyson is a mens' psychotherapist working in Manchester, UK and via SKYPE worldwide. He offers cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling and psychotherapy.

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