Exercise and physical activity are important for all ages and stages in life. Keeping active also directly influences your ability to maintain and improve your psychological and emotional health. The key is usually finding an activity that you enjoy and even look forward to. It is recommended that you aim to exercise 30 minutes a day, five times per week.
Committing to regular exercise and movement, including simple stretches while at work, can be key to maintaining or rebuilding your health. Here are some of the benefits of exercise and how to get moving.
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Look for a physical activity that you enjoy and are motivated to keep doing. You could try:
- yoga or Pilates
- bike riding, or
- team sports such as netball, basketball or football.
Start slowly to build up your resilience. If you haven't exercised much recently speak to a doctor about how to get started. You may even like to ask your doctor about a referral to an exercise physiologist, an allied health professional who can help you customise a fitness routine for your specific needs.
As your physical health improves it's a good idea to vary the type of activities that you do.
- Strength and resistance training — improves muscle and bone strength.
- Flexibility exercise — improves joint and muscle range of motion.
- Cardiovascular exercise/aerobics training — improves physical endurance and personal stamina.
- Balance/core workouts — improves balance and coordination and increases abdominal strength.
No matter the exercise, you will benefit from it triggering the release of 'feel good' chemicals from your brain.
- Serotonin — reduces depression and hostility, and improves agreeable social behaviour.
- Dopamine — improves mood and long-term memory.
- Endorphins — produce a 'euphoric' or 'natural high' response. They also act as an analgesic, diminishing the perception of pain, and act as a sedative.
The benefits of exercise are numerous:
- reduces the risk of depression and/or anxiety
- helps improve mental health
- improves mood and concentration
- reduces stress
- reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- reduces the risk of osteoporosis and improves bone density
- improves immunity
- improves sleep quality
- improves maintenance of weight/weight control
- reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes
- lowers the risk of some cancers, and
- helps with pain management.
Read some of our other articles on staying healthy:
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