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How regular exercise can do amazing things for your mental health

indoor exercise

For centuries, people have been concerned with their physical well-being. Ever since the ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilisations, doctors and physicians were seen as some of the most important people within society, as they preached the need for keeping your body in good physical condition, to improve your health and, hopefully, your life expectancy. Medical understanding and methods have certainly improved since then, but the core principles have remained the same; look after your body, and your body will look after you.

How regular exercise can do amazing things for your mental health

It is only in the last half a century that the idea that looking after your mental health is equally as important. Before then, we lived in a very stoic society, where you were not meant to complain or talk about feeling bad, because there was always someone worse off, and no one likes someone who is sad and moaning all the time. Thankfully, doctors and health professionals now understand mental health so much better than they ever did previously. They are keen to stress how important it is to look after your mind, at the same time as looking after your body.

This change in attitude has certainly helped with celebrities and well-known figures coming out to express when they have had difficulties with their mental health. Ryan Reynolds is one of the best-known actors working today, but he has often talked about his struggles with anxiety. To outsiders, Prince Harry has had an incredibly easy life, given his family is one of the richest in the world. However, he has talked about his 20 year battle with his mental health, which came about after his mother died when he was only a child. With famous people talking about their troubles, suddenly the average person felt better about having these low periods, and that it wasn’t just them suffering in silence.

Sports stars and athletes aren’t immune either. Playing in front of a crowd of thousands of adoring fans, with millions more watching at home, doesn’t mean you won’t suffer from mental health issues. Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, with 23 gold medals. But that hasn’t stopped him from having depression. Similarly, Ronda Rousey won six UFC titles in a row, but then also had suicidal thoughts when she lost to Holly Holm in 2015. Thankfully, Rousey managed to turn this into a positive, stating “It’s not a weakness we should condemn…I do not see why it’s looked at as a bad thing”.

Of course, it is not just these two, but many of the athletes with some of the best sports betting stats who have similarly suffered. Thankfully, exercise is now known to have positive effects on people’s mental health, so let’s look at some of the benefits that working out regularly can have on your brain.

run outdoors


An obvious place to start, but it is a key point to discuss. The majority of sports require interacting with other humans. Having fun with others playing a sport, whether it is soccer, basketball, or even ultimate frisbee, is proven to have a great effect on mental health. Even if you aren’t winning regularly, being part of a team with shared goals is very important.

Even with individual sports such as tennis, you can have a healthy competition with your opponent. Playing with friends is always great, but even going up against strangers can be helpful, as it helps people push themselves in a competitive, but hopefully friendly way.

Increased productivity

Feeling unmotivated is a big sign that your mental health isn’t in a great place. Athletes talk about it all the time. Even serial winners will struggle with this sometimes, as they feel like they cannot achieve any more in their sport, so have nothing else to try for. This is a mindset to avoid at all costs. Kicking a ball around with friends, or going for a run with your loyal pet dog, can do amazing things for athletes of all levels, from the complete amateurs to the world-class professionals.

Prevent cognitive decline

Regular exercise has been proven to boost the brain’s ability to minimise and slow down any cognitive decline that can begin after we reach the age of 45. So keeping active in your prime years can help to boost the positive chemicals in your brain, which should help combat depression and anxiety.

Appreciating the outdoors

You’ll be amazed how your mood can be lifted simply by spending a few hours outside on a sports field, soaking up some vitamin D from the sun. Doing this a few times a week, especially with a group of friends or teammates, will do wonders for your mental state.

Of course, there are hundreds of other methods for athletes and sportspeople to consider, but by following these simple steps, you will begin to see progress very quickly.


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