Mental disorders are of major public health significance. It has been claimed that vigorous physical activity has positive effects on mental health. Physical activity and exercise alleviate    symptoms associated with mild to moderate depression.

Many devastating effects of mental disorders can be avoided through physical exercise. It is interesting that health problems that cut short our lives in the world including cardiovascular diseases can also be prevented and fought through regular physical exercises. Every time we exercise, we activate our brain centers to secrete chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine which facilitate physical and psychological wellbeing of an individual. These are mood enhancing chemicals which keep you psyched and energized.

Moreover, there is adequate release of tension promoting a sense of relaxation which is also an ideal way to combat anxiety. Through exercise we channel the energy that the body has been accumulating over time. Physical exercises leads to increased heart rate and breathing intensity that makes the brain send signals to them to help you breathe faster and deeper, delivering extra oxygen to your muscles. In addition, due to the increased concentrations of oxygen, glucose, endorphins and serotonin during exercise; there is a consequent increase in circulation in the blood vessels which has a positive effect on cognitive functions. At such a point, there is a great inhibition on the production of stress hormones thus reducing and avoiding symptoms of depression. The effects of stress have a severe impact on health. It is therefore important to have vigorous activities or relaxation for sometime every day.

Any form of sport for instance running, swimming, playing golf, gym exercises among others will trigger the body to produce the above chemicals in our bodies. It is therefore important for a person to be involved in a vigorous activity.
We cannot fail to recognize the effect of exercise on immunity. There is an elevation on your level of immunoglobulins, which are proteins that help bolster your immune system and ward off infection. Other health risk factors that are addressed include the risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes. The more you work out, the greater your sensitivity to insulin. That in turn, lowers your blood sugar levels, reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes.

There is need to engage in different modes of physical exercises like walking, gymnastics, running/jogging, soccer. swimming, cycling, aerobics or any other sport that is vigorous in nature. Regardless of the age of the person, sex, physical condition or abilities it’s important to stay away from the bed, sofa during the day and to remain in constant activity. Remember the saying that lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being while movement and methodological physical exercise saves and preserve it.

Faulkner G, Biddle S. J Sports Sci. 2001 Jun; 19(6):433-44
SA Paluska, TL Schwenk – Sports medicine, 2000
Written by:
Danson Kingori,
Physical Therapist,
Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Health Centre

Exercise And Mental Health.

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