Exercise & Mental Health

Feeling down, stressed or anxious are all normal emotions for young people to experience. When these feelings persist for long periods of time or begin to interfere with work, study and social life, they may be considered part of a mental illness. If this sounds familiar, read on. Is it just me? If you’re struggling with mental illness, you’re not alone! Recent evidence shows that one in four people aged 15-19 years are currently living with a mental illness. Anxiety and depression have the highest prevalence among teens (AIHW, 2011). Where can I get help? If you think something isn't right, it's important...

Have you heard of “green exercise”? It’s a buzz word which refers to physical exercise undertaken in natural environments. So, what are the benefits of exercising outdoors? The benefits of exercising outdoors We all know that physical activity is great for our physical and mental health, but does it really matter where you do it? Well, kind of! Exercising anywhere is good for you, but research has shown that you may get additional benefits if you move your workout outside. Here are five reasons why you should consider exercising outside: 1. It improves your mood. There’s just something about the outdoors that makes us...

We often think about being “healthy” in terms of our bodies, and too often forget about our minds. So, what exactly is “mental health” and how can you look after yours? Let's take a look at why should exercise for mental health! What exactly is “Mental Health”? It’s a term that is thrown around a lot, but it’s also often misunderstood. According to the World Health Organization, mental health is “a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make...

In Australia, we are experiencing higher than ever before numbers of people living with clinically diagnosed mental health disorders. Previously, mental health issues were rarely discussed due to the sense of weakness or shame in admitting that one may have a problem. Thankfully now, society and its perception of mental health issues is becoming better informed and developing a better educated understanding of the incredibly significant impact that mental health disorders has on an individual, family, healthcare system and the country as a whole. Mental and behavioural disorders, such as depression, anxiety and drug use, are important drivers of disability and morbidity. This...

This case study is one example of how exercise interventions can assist with improving mental health, activities of daily living and independence when mental health and in this case the impact of substance use is involved.*   The World Health Organisation defines mental health as a state of well being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. ESSA’s joint position statement on mental health states that mental health and physical health are fundamentally connected. A...

What is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder? Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur following exposure to potentially life-threatening or traumatic event. This can include events such as motor vehicle accidents, assault, or experiencing the atrocities of war and combat. Being survivors of these events can cause elevated levels of continual stress that has negative effects on the body. PTSD can cause overwhelming sense of guilt and create negative thought patterns, including replaying the traumatic scenes in the mind of people with PTSD and being on high alert a lot of the time, so that the body is continually in a state of ‘fight...

What is Awe? Awe is a stirring feeling of inspiration and wonder that may be elicited from a touching experience in nature, becoming lost in music or in beholding art. It is a response to things perceived as overwhelming and vast, which alter our perception on the world. What one person finds beautiful and motivating, will be different to another. There is no right or wrong. With a mindful mindset, awe can be found almost anywhere, but usually occurs in places with two key features: Physical vastness & Novelty Awe reminds us that we are not the centre of the universe, it...

Generally speaking; individuals experiencing mental health conditions will also be experiencing some elements of poor physical health, and vice versa.   According to data from AIHW, Australia's Health 2016 national report card; mental health conditions were reported as a co-morbidity among: 36% of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) 30% of people with back pain and problems 29% of people with asthma And those suffering from a mental illness: Are 2-3 times more likely to suffer from diabetes than the general population Almost four times more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease (CVD) Coronary heart disease carries the independent risk factor of...

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...