Freedom to move

The Mental Health Benefits of Movement

Tara WehriOthers, Uncategorized

The Mental Health Benefits of Movement mental health benefits of movement


As society has become more attentive to mental health care, we often neglect exercise. Exercising has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression, yet it is not often discussed in conjunction with mental health care. The article “Physical Activity and Mental Health” from The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry provides a comprehensive exploration of this relationship, shedding light on how exercise influences psychological well-being. It emphasizes that physical activity is not merely beneficial for physical fitness but also plays a pivotal role in mental health maintenance and enhancement.




The Science Behind It:mental health benefits of movement

Increased blood flow to the brain from exercise results in an improvement in mood due to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.  So next time you’re working out to your prized at home workout video, listen to Richard Simmons when he tells you to get your blood pumping! “The HPA axis communicates with several regions of the brain, specifically the limbic system which controls motivation and mood, the amygdala, which generates fear in response to stress, and the hippocampus which plays an important part in memory formation as well as mood and motivation.” (Sharma, Madaan, Petty 2006) Exercise also stimulates the release of endorphins, neurotransmitters that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators. Additionally, exercise increases the production of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that play crucial roles in mood regulation, pleasure, and reward. These neurochemical changes are linked to improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. So if you ever feel on the fence about walking your dog (or adopting one to walk) this is your sign.


mental health benefits of movementReal-life Benefits:

While the physical benefits of exercise are well known, exercise can help improve sleep, stress relief, mood, increase energy, stamina, and reduce tiredness that can increase mental alertness. So next time your partner is stressed or they feel tired maybe suggest they take a hike? (DISCLAIMER: We are not responsible for their reaction) Exercise is also linked to cognitive benefits such as clear thinking and problem solving. Think of exercising as a performance enhancer for your shower thoughts. There are a plethora of benefits to exercising, but the key to receiving these benefits is consistency.




Practical Tips:mental health benefits of movement

To receive mental health benefits from movement, a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise such as brisk walking, running, pickleball,etc. 3 times a week is recommended. However, the thirty minutes does not have to be at once. 3 10-minute walks are believed to be just as effective as one 30-minute walk! Try going on 10 minute walks after each meal, or maybe beat the heat in the morning and go for an evening stroll when it is cooling down. Bring a friend! Having someone to hold you accountable helps motivate, and not even Forrest Gump can play pickleball by himself. Finding group events can also help get you out the door, attending group runs are great not just for exercise but for the mental health boost you can receive from social interactions. Try not to focus on finding an activity that will work you the hardest, but an activity that interests you the most. After all it is about boosting and maintaining your physical AND mental health.


mental health benefits of movementConclusion:

In an age where mental health is discussed more than ever, exercise should be included more in the conversation as tools to boost quality of life.  Although exercise can greatly boost your well being, if you are struggling with mental health issues please reach out to a mental health professional for help. Remember to consistency is key, find an activity you enjoy, recovery is just as important as working out, and all it takes is 30 minutes (the equivalent to one Wheel of Fortune episode with ads). So if you’re looking to for a reason to get out the door remember you’re not just taking care of your body but also your mind.





Run in the Mizuno Neo Vista Super ShoeAbout TRWS GURU Joseph

Joseph or “Baby Joseph” started at The Running Well Store in 2019. He’s ran at the competitive level in high school and college, but is a much more casual and social runner today. You can often find him at various group runs in town, and the sonic drive in. If this blog sounded familiar that’s because Joseph also writes descriptions for The Running Well Store Website. A true shoe nerd, you may struggle to find Joseph in the same pair of shoes and definitely not two days in  a row. When Joseph isn’t running or selling shoes he loves to perform in musical theatre, operas, and choirs where he still will be discussing shoes and fitting peers.





Sharma, A., Madaan, V., & Petty, F. D. (2021, August 3). Exercise for mental health.

Peluso, M. A., & Guerra de Andrade, L. H. (2005). Physical activity and mental health: the association between exercise and mood. Clinics (Sao Paulo, Brazil), 60(1), 61–70.