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Mental Health Essay: Impact of exercise on Psychological Well-Being


Prepare a mental health assignment arguing whether engaging in exercise improves a person’s mental health.


It is evident herein mental health essay that physical exercise is seen to have potential positive impact on the health pf the people by helping them improve on their musculoskeletal health and regulation of stress. The physical exercise plays an important role in various areas of health such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity and others. One such area that exercise helps is mental health by reducing the mental burden that people go through by diverting their mind into some productive. However, it is argued that all kinds of exercises do not contribute to the improvement of mental health. Moreover, it is also argued exercise is good for mental health, however, only to some extent and extensive workout and burnout seem to have a negative impact on mental health (Chekroud et al., 2018). The purpose of the mental health essay is to argue whether exercise plays an important role in improving the mental health of people.

Thesis statement-exercise has positive impact on mental health of people who are facing high issue of depression, anxiety and other mental illness.

Exercise is always better when it comes to the health of the people because it keeps people fit and reduces the risk of physical health issues. Previous researches have come across the effect of exercise on mental health issues and has shown a conflicting result. This is because some has argued that inactive life can be the major contributor of poor mental health and exercise can be a cure to it, while others have argued that exercising too long does not cause much improvement in mental health. According to Chekroud et al., (2018) sports and exercise is a way for the people to indulge in social experiences and interactions and this help them to overcome their mental issues such as depression and anxiety. This is because exercise and indulgence in sports has helped in bringing hopes to the lives of people with mental problems and give them opportunity to do something on their own will. Moreover, exercise has also seen to boost the self-esteem of the people and this has positive impact on the mental condition of the individuals that face cognitive issue. For example, people facing mental issues like depression is seen to be confident when they engage in physical exercise because they get a sense of satisfaction that they are making efficient use of their time. this gives them self-satisfaction, improve their confidence and help them to deal with mental stress they are going through. However, Skead & Rogers (2016) has argued that exercise has positive effect on the mental health of people only if it is done in moderate amount. The people that engage themselves in vigorous exercise or are obsessed with exercise are seen to face worse mental health and, in such conditions, exercise has negative impact on the mental issues. This is because people that indulge in extreme amount of exercise are seen to hold obsessive characteristics and this put them at greater risk of facing poor mental problems.

Further, Alexandratos, Barnett & Thomas (2012) has pointed out that exercise plays an important role in alleviating long term depression among people and responsible for overcoming other mental problems. This is because with timely exercise people are able to reduce stress and improve their concentration and other cognitive function. This is because there is close connection between the body and the mind and if body feels better with exercise then the mind is also healthy and happy. Exercise creates endorphins that reaches the brain and improves their ability to think and reduces the stress level. However, Bell et al., (2019) argues that exercise can only help in reducing depression if it is done for 30 to 45 minutes and not more than 90 minutes. Moreover, Stanton et al., (2018) further argues that the benefits that exercise provide to the people suffering from mental issues are majorly temporary and it delivers only several hours of relief to cognitive stress and depressions. This means that exercise acts as a painkiller like any aspirin that takes away the mental pressure or stress for sometime and not permanently. However, Chekroud et al., (2018) has argued that exercise has been a part of mental therapy to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression and the effects are long lasting unlike medicated painkillers. Exercise when done on a regular basis helps in alleviating mental issues like depressions and anxiety for hours and the problem is gone over time. in contrast to this, there has been evidence that exercise has positive effect on anxiety and depression, however, it may not have strong impact on long term or huge mental issues.

Exercise and indulging in sports give an opportunity to the people to indulge in social interaction and this has positive impact on mental issues because it helps in improving blood flow and facilitate healing hormones into the brain that can help release stress. Through exercise the brain release endorphins and other chemicals and this helps them to enhance their sense of well-being. Through exercise it is also seen that the people are able to cycle away negative thoughts and stay happier than the people that are inactive. However, Chekroud et al., (2018) argues that the impact of such therapy varies from people to people because some respond positively, while others does not find it too much helpful in improving the mood of a person and may experience shirt term benefit. Moreover, it is seen that mindfulness exercise is more help in dealing with mental issues such as yoga and meditation than physical exercise. This means that to get beneficial effect from exercise for mental health it is important to choose the kind of exercise wisely that can directly contribute to positive mental conditions. The major issue is that people exercise with the aim to obtain physical benefit from exercise and mental benefit is still an underlying aspect of exercise. According to the findings of Skead & Rogers (2016). it is also seen that mental health benefit from exercise largely varied as the function of exercise type chosen by a person, which should include more of a mindful exercise than aerobic and gym. However, Barton & Pretty (2010) has argued that there is a close association between exercise and mental health because people that are active suffer fewer days of mental issues than the ones that are inactive. It has been beneficial in reducing signs of depression and cultivate happiness among the people. Different types of exercises have come up that aims at improving the mental issues of people such as green exercise, mindful exercise and others.

From the above analysis it is concluded that exercises create positive outcome on mental issues of people even though there have been arguments on the duration of its effects and the kind of exercise. The overall impact of doing exercise is positive on mental well-being of others, however, a person needs to choose the kind of exercise in an effective way. Mindful exercise such as yoga and meditation and green exercise has more positive impact and are long lasting than physical exercise such as aerobic and gym. However, good mental health is a reflection of the presence of activity and healthy living within a person that boost self-esteem and confidence in them and in turn help them to be happier and reduce mental issues.

Alexandratos, K., Barnett, F., & Thomas, Y. (2012). The impact of exercise on the mental health and quality of life of people with severe mental illness: a critical review. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 75(2), 48-60.

Barton, J., & Pretty, J. (2010). What is the best dose of nature and green exercise for improving mental health? A multi-study analysis. Environmental science & technology, 44(10), 3947-3955.

Bell, S. L., Audrey, S., Gunnell, D., Cooper, A., & Campbell, R. (2019). The relationship between physical activity, mental wellbeing and symptoms of mental health disorder in adolescents: a cohort study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 16(1), 138.

Chekroud, S. R., Gueorguieva, R., Zheutlin, A. B., Paulus, M., Krumholz, H. M., Krystal, J. H., & Chekroud, A. M. (2018). Association between physical exercise and mental health in 1· 2 million individuals in the USA between 2011 and 2015: a cross-sectional study. The Lancet Psychiatry, 5(9), 739-746.

Skead, N. K., & Rogers, S. L. (2016). Running to well-being: A comparative study on the impact of exercise on the physical and mental health of law and psychology students. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 49, 66-74.

Stanton, R., Rosenbaum, S., Lederman, O., & Happell, B. (2018). Implementation in action: how Australian Exercise Physiologists approach exercise prescription for people with mental illness. Journal of Mental Health, 27(2), 150-156.


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