Physical Exercise Is Essential for Mental Health, Too

At every stage in life, physical health is tied to mental health. When we feel good physically, we’re more likely to feel good mentally, as well.

And with dementia, depression, anxiety, and loneliness higher among people later in life, this is one more reason to get or stay physically fit.

The World Health Organization has six tips for good mental health, and May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Four of WHO’s reasons are clearly connected to physical fitness.

  1. Be active
  2. Enjoy walks with your family and friends.
  3. Get 8 hours of sleep every day.
  4. Eat healthy.
  5. Talk about your feelings with someone you trust.
  6. Look for professional help if you need it.

What could be clearer that exercise is essential for our ongoing mental health?

We know from other sources, as well, that exercise is good for our brains. It boosts body chemicals that lower stress and improve mood, focus, and energy. Exercise even builds up the capacity of parts of your brain associated with memory and learning, the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex.

Fitness centers like ours provide invaluable opportunities for social connections and support, leading to even better health, at a time in life when many people struggle with isolation. One study says being lonely is as damaging to lifespan as smoking cigarettes; another links it to high blood pressure. Yet another connects leisure activities with a reduced risk of dementia.

Join us – and start feeling and thinking better right away.


Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.

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