Improving mental health through movement

How to improve your mental health through movement

As Australians, we love being outdoors, keeping active and spending time with friends and family. However due to COVID-19, these things have been forced to change, causing disruption to our routines. Our mental health has been suddenly affected as a result of these disruptions and not being able to do what we love. Accredited Exercise Physiologist Kate Zoch explains how to improve mental health through movement during this difficult time.

How can movement improve mental health?

We all know the positive effects and benefits exercise has on our physical health? But what about our mental health? There is a strong link between exercise and mental health and exercise improving symptoms of mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.

A regular and consistent exercise routine is associated with improved mental health and overall emotional well-being. So as the current pandemic continues to effect Australian’s mental health, it is more important than ever to start participating in a regular exercise routine.

Here’s how exercise can improve your mental health: 

– Releases endorphins which make you feel happier
– Improves mood
– Improves social connection and relationships with others\
– Improves sleep
– Increases energy
– Great stress relief

Tips for boosting physical activity levels during isolation

Online workouts

Choose the type of exercise you love and find exercise videos online. Whether it’s pilates, yoga, boxing, dancing, cardio or strength training, many businesses are offering these types of exercise/workout videos at your fingertips.

Read more: Exercise Right Home Workout Videos by our accredited exercise professionals 

Virtual real time exercise classes

There are many local studios and clinics which are offering real time exercise sessions. Consider supporting these businesses and signing up to their resources and join in their live exercise classes right from your living room

Get outdoors

Daily walking, cycling or running to get fresh air, vitamin D and maintain your aerobic health
If you don’t have a lot of time break these up into smaller 10-minute bouts
As simple as maybe walking to your local supermarket, post office or walking your dog

10-minute lunch time exercises

Are you working from home? Home with your kids? Studying at home online? Break up your day with short 10-minute exercise sets without feeling guilty
Simple movements such as squats, lunges, heel raises, wall push ups and many many more are some of the exercises which can make up your 10 minute sets throughout the day to keep you moving an active

Exercise with family members

Get moving with your family. It might be your kids, husband, wife, house mates or siblings, it doesn’t matter just motivate each other to move together!

How much exercise should I do?

Individuals should be doing at least 30 minutes a day or 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity exercise. You can break this up into smaller bouts to make it more achievable for you, but remember, SOME exercise is better than nothing at all! If you’re struggling to start, just start small and build up at your own pace.

Get the “right” advice

If you need help getting started or you’d like to get some professional advice specific to you, see an Accredited Exercise Physiologist or Accredited Exercise Scientist.

Click here to find one near you!

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Written by Kate Zoch. Kate is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist at Inform Exercise. 

Kate has completed her Masters in Clinical Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor of Exercise & Sports Science at the Australian Catholic University. She has experience working with a variety of neurological, cardiac, orthopaedic and pulmonary conditions and has a particular interest in women’s health and geriatric rehabilitation. Ultimately, she strives to provide quality and meaningful treatments to all of her clients.