Exercise & Mental Health

Yoga is sometimes overlooked or not considered as a tool to help with the symptoms of mental health conditions.   In Australia, it's estimated that 45 per cent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. Yoga is one of the oldest forms of exercise, originating in ancient India.  Although there tends to be a negative stigma that follows yoga and its Hindu roots, it can be a fantastic way to stretch and de-stress your body. There has been evidence to suggest that yoga is a potent anti-depressant that matches with drugs. Child’s pose, Warrior One, Triangle Pose and Downward Dog. One...

We all have that one friend that we tease. "Are you eating another chocolate bar?" "Do you do anything but watch Friends?" Well, we think it's about time you take a stand and become and Exercise BFF. You may completely underestimate the power you can have on your friends and their health and activity levels. Perhaps it's time to start thinking differently?   Four reasons why you need to become an 'Exercise BFF'   Motivation Sometimes the last thing you feel like doing is getting off the couch, putting on your sneakers and hitting the pavement but little gentle nudge from you might get your BFF moving. If that was...

Is your energy for the festive season looking a little more ‘silent night’ than ‘jingle bells’?   Although many people view the end of year as a leisurely break, the lead up to Christmas actually poses a high risk of burnout and fatigue. Certain conditions that place people at a higher risk of exhaustion include (but are not limited to) chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, glandular fever, cancer, multiple sclerosis, or influenza. To keep your lights burning bright, make sure you know your personal warning signs of fatigue, so that you can take steps before it’s too late. Energy is a complex, multifaceted part of...

It is the sad reality that each year, 1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental illness.  That number is almost double the global average.   Mental illness is also ranked as the third leading cause of disability burden in Australia. Mental health needs to be in the spotlight. As October is Mental Health Month we will shed light on the benefits of exercise on mental health and how exercise can help Australians improve their mood, self-concept, work behavior, and more. In the early 2000’s a study in Finland found that people who exercised 2-3 times per week displayed lower levels of depression,...

We live in a world where stress seems to be increasing and physical activity decreasing. So what are the barriers and how do we overcome them?   Almost one in five Australians report that current stress levels are having a very strong impact on physical health (Stress and Wellbeing survey). Interestingly enough, most Australians (79%) agree that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important to them. So if Australians are realizing that a healthy lifestyle (exercise/diet/sleep) is important, then what is stopping them from actively living it? The stress and wellbeing survey noted in 2014 that the main barriers to a healthy lifestyle were:...

Reconnecting over physical activity is a great excuse to catch-up with those you may have lost touch with and ask that all important question – R U OK?   The national suicide prevention campaign R U OK? Day is a reminder for all Australians to make more time for the people in their lives who matter most and in the process help create a more connected world for all of us. Whether it's getting outdoor and active or engaging in some more creative ways to move, reconnecting over physical activity is a great excuse to catch-up with those you may have lost touch with and...

Some days, you can’t even be bothered to get out of bed. Why would you want to try something like exercise?   You’ve been referred to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist to address some physical health issues. She’s referred you to address some weight related concerns associated with your weight, and has explained something to you about your heart. She’s told you that exercise therapy will be great for addressing these. She also mentioned to you, that it might help with your motivation and energy levels.   You have no idea why she would make that last point, as exercise is the last thing you...

Movement is one of the most effective ways to improve your mood, even and especially if you have depression.   Me in the morning, when I’m depressed: flat, lethargic and grumpy. Overly-sensitive, easily reacting to a small trigger. An overwhelming sense of apathy, interspersed with moments of rage or deep sadness. Things feel really hard. Me later that afternoon: energized, motivated and productive. Calm and peaceful in my own mind, focusing on what needs to get done (work). Still pretty sensitive, but with enough mindful presence to not yell at my loved ones. What changed? I spent half an hour running. And when I...

It is accepted worldwide that exercise is an effective treatment and management tool for mood related disorders, including depression.   In fact, exercise is listed as a recommended part of treatment in the American Psychiatric Association guidelines for treatment, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (UK) and the Canadian Psychological Association guidelines. As well as having a significant effect on mood, regular exercise can help to reduce the risk of diseases commonly associated with depression such as heart disease and diabetes, the rates of which are higher in people with a mental illness (Rozanski, 2012). As an accredited exercise physiologist, I...