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  • Donavan Pillai

Mental Health And Exercise

There is mounting evidence that suggests exercise is an effective component

of treatment for people living with acute and chronic mental illness. With

exercise making a big difference in mood and promoting a positive mental

health, whilst also helping to reduce the symptoms of mental illness, there

is a significant need for exercise to be a fundamental part of mental health

treatment.

It’s important to remember that it’s not about what type of exercise is the

best kind, it’s about what works for the individual, and that doing something

is better than doing nothing at all. Even one workout a week is known to have

great benefits.


Physical inactivity is the cause of approximately 9% of premature mortality

worldwide, with people experiencing a mental illness being particularly vulnerable to

inactivity. The high risk of poor physical health in those with a serious mental illness

is acknowledged as one of the major reasons for high mortality rates. The relative

risk of death is estimated to be 2.2 times higher in people with mental disorders

compared to the general population and this is largely due to chronic physical

health problems rather than the mental health issues.


Results of the 2018 HUNT study highlighted that 12% of cases of depression could

have been prevented by just one hour of exercise a week.


Further research tells us that physical activity can then protect against developing

future mental disorders. A study in The American Journal of Psychiatry found

physical activity can protect against the emergence of depression, regardless of age

and geographical region.


Biokineticists’ work closely with psychologists and psychiatrists using exercise as a tool in the management of mental health.

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