Professor Peter Hassmen of the School of Health and Human Sciences at Southern Cross University's Coffs Harbour campus joins our Kick the Kilos campaign to talk about the mental benefits of regular exercise.
REGULAR physical activity - even brisk walking for 20 to 30 minutes a day - will work wounders for your mental health.
Exercisers frequently report a reduction of stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression; improved sleep, concentration, memory, and general mental wellbeing are also common research findings.
If we consider that 25-50% of the Australian population at some point in life will suffer from mental ill-health, it is likely that you or someone you know will be among them.
Exercise is a cost-effective and safe activity that will not only kick the kilos, it will also kick-start your brain. Because apart from mental wellbeing, exercise is beneficial for problem solving and creativity - instead of getting that coffee or chocolate when you need a boost, go for a walk alone or with a friend, hop on a bicycle or hit the gym. Give that brain of yours some oxygen.
Your brain will thank you by making you think more clearly, by increasing the size of the memory centre (hippocampus), and by releasing neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin that are linked to your mood.
But you do not have to think about all that, as long as you are physically active, everything else will take care of itself.
That is the beauty of exercising: both your body and mind will benefit without you doing anything else than becoming physically active, preferably every day or at least most days of the week.
So make a lifestyle choice today and start exercising.
Start slowly and when you feel comfortable after a few weeks, you can increase both the time and intensity as research has shown that the greatest mental health benefits are achieved when the intensity is moderate.