For many years, those suffering from mental illness suffered in silence due to the stigma (social and perceived) surrounding the topic. Fortunately, this seems to be changing as society improves its understanding of mental health.
One of the things that has changed is the amount of research that has been done to study the relationship between exercise and mental health. When we exercise, our bodies produce endorphins to help alleviate pain and stimulate the production of dopamine, a “feel-good” chemical in our brains. Physical activity has now been proven to help increase self esteem, reduce stress and, in many cases, help reduce anxiety and treat depression.1 Additionally, studies suggest regular exercise can help delay the onset of some mental disorders and may actually help with treatment.2 So how much exercise is needed for good mental health? While every little bit helps, according to the Mayo Clinic, doing 30 minutes or more of exercise a day (3-5/week) may greatly improve depression or anxiety symptoms.3