Health, Sports

Regular Physical Activity: Finding Joy In Exercise For Overall Well-being

Ogunbiyi Kayode


April 23, 2024

Exercise is universally recognized for its role in maintaining physical well-being. However, it also holds significant importance for mental health maintenance. Studies consistently demonstrate that individuals who engage in regular exercise exhibit improved mental health, emotional well-being, and reduced incidence of mental illness.

Incorporating exercise into one’s routine appears to mitigate the risk of developing mental illness and can be beneficial in the treatment of conditions like depression and anxiety. This is particularly crucial as individuals with mental health conditions face a heightened risk of chronic physical ailments such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and asthma. For mild to moderate depression, physical activity can be as effective as antidepressants or cognitive behavioral therapy and can complement other treatment modalities.

The relationship between exercise and mental health is multifaceted, with physical activity serving as both a cause and a consequence of mental well-being. The positive impact of exercise on mental health stems from various factors, including alterations in brain chemicals such as serotonin, stress hormones, and endorphins.

The numerous mechanisms underpinning the mental health benefits of exercise include improved sleep, enhanced sense of control and self-esteem, distraction from negative thoughts, socialization opportunities, increased energy levels, and reduction of skeletal muscle tension.

Incorporating exercise into one’s routine need not be strenuous or time-consuming. Low to moderate intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or swimming for 2.5-5 hours per week, can yield significant mental health benefits. Alternatively, engaging in 1.25-2.5 hours of vigorous physical activity, such as jogging or fast cycling, is also recommended. Even activities like stretching, yoga, or household chores can contribute to improved mental health.

Exercising outdoors further enhances the benefits, with studies indicating heightened levels of vitality, pleasure, and self-esteem, along with reduced tension and depression, among individuals who exercise outside. Additionally, integrating physical activity into daily activities, such as walking or cycling instead of driving, further promotes a physically active lifestyle.

To kickstart an exercise regimen, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional and select activities that align with personal preferences and fitness levels. Starting gradually, varying activities, and incorporating exercise into daily routines are essential strategies for establishing and maintaining an exercise routine.

Exercise should not be considered as a mere leisure activity but should be incorporated into our daily routine. The health benefits afforded by consistent exercises are countless and can only be reaped by us if we consciously invest our time in regular exercises. Exercise is more than a sporting activity, it is a way of life. I know this for sure but how will you know same, if you don’t try?


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