We are all aware of the importance of staying healthy and the benefits of exercise, a healthy diet, and an active lifestyle but, how many of us really know how beneficial exercise can be for our mental health?
Professor Barbara Sahakian, best known for her research on cognitive enhancers, speaks of the importance of prioritising mental health as well as physical. “As a society, we take our mental health for granted. But, just like the state of our body, it is very important to monitor the health of our psyche,” says Professor Sahakyan.
One in five (20%) Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year. As a result, mental disorders are one of the leading causes of disability, with a significant proportion of accidents occurring in depression and anxiety.
Mental and physical health are not mutually exclusive says Barbara, quite the opposite, “exercise is good for your thinking, mood and physical health and you can improve your thinking and brain health throughout your life through exercise and learning.”
So, if regular exercise is not on your daily agenda already you may be curious about how much you need to do to give your mental health a boost.
Surprisingly, it’s not really that much and doesn’t have to be too physical or take a long time. Studies show a moderate level of exercise is ok. That’s like the equivalent of walking fast and being able to talk to someone at the same time.
Joannah Braham our Move with Women Program Exercise Physiologist suggests “30 minutes of exercise, at least five days a week, can make a huge difference. Whether taken across several shorter sessions of 10-15 minutes each or just one 30-minute session!”
So… why not make exercise a daily habit. Try walking instead of driving. Get off the train or bus a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way. You could also spend some time walking with your kids to school. Or get a little more active around the house with gardening, cleaning the windows or even washing the car.
Australia’s physical activity and sedentary guidelines will also give you some handy information. The important thing to keep top of mind is to move more and sit less every day!
If you are ready to begin your journey to a more active and healthy life register for our supportive FREE Move with Women 9-week program for women of all ages and stages HERE or call 1800 328 951 to talk to one of our friendly program specialists.