There is strong evidence that regular physical activity reduces health risks and lessens the symptoms associated with some common chronic mental health disorders.
What are some of the possible benefits of exercise?
- Reduced psychiatric symptoms
- Reduced stress resulting from burning off stress chemicals such as adrenaline
- Release of endorphins -- chemicals that have a naturally relaxing and calming effect on the body
- Improved memory
- Increased energy
- Improved sleep
- Improved focus
- Better regulation of mood
- Weight loss
- Increased sense of accomplishment and self-esteem
- Distraction from negative thinking
- Additional opportunities to meet others with similar interests
The idea of exercising can be overwhelming for someone dealing with a mental health disorder. It is important to remember that when it comes to physical activity, anything is better than nothing! Start with whatever seems manageable. Even a ten minute walk can be helpful. You will likely be able to increase the amount and frequency of physical activity slowly as you start to feel better. Generally, doctors recommend about 20-30 minutes of exercise three to five times per week, but it can be a good idea to talk with your own healthcare provider to decide what’s right for you. Don’t try to make a huge change in your exercise routine all at once.
The most important thing to remember is to set a realistic and attainable goal. Keep it fun and simple!
Many college students perceive barriers to exercising.
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