Exercise and Mental Health: Two Sides of the Same Coin

how to stay motivated for working out

Exercise is part of a healthy, balanced life. Fitness. Self-confidence. Getting in shape. Pretty simple stuff right?

Yet some of the benefits of exercise are not so obvious; impacting our lives in ways we cannot fully recognize.

Feeling blue? Take a look at some of the ways that exercise is an investment into a healthy mind.

OK. Lets check out the recipe on how to stay motivated for working out:

Exercise Positive Effects on Your Brain – 9 Workout Motivation Tips

Combat Depression

The jury’s out; exercise is one of the best remedies for mild to moderate cases of depression. While anti-depressant medications have varying degrees of success in these cases, no one disputes the ability of exercise to combat depression; studies have shown them to be equally effective.

“Research has shown that exercise is an effective but often underused treatment for mild to moderate depression.”

Reference: webmd.com – Exercise and Depression

Moderate-intensity exercise has been clinically proven to release endorphins into the brain, elevating mood and creating feelings of euphoria.

As well as being chemically effective, exercise can treat depression by disrupting negative thought cycles. This provides relief to sufferers; encouraging more positive thought patterns.

Here’s a couple of different cardio workouts you can try out to welcome those endorphins to your life.

Self Confidence

Which do you feel better after: a movie marathon or a workout?

Exercise is a big fan of self-worth and general confidence. Not just on a superficial level- fitness can alter your perception of yourself; boosting how you perceive your own attractiveness.

Nature, Enter me

Let’s face it, nature’s the best. Getting outside naturally elevates your mood as you soak up Vitamin D- one of mother Earth’s many cures for the blues.

If you’ve only been working out at the gym, get outdoors and boost your mood the natural way. Running, walking, hiking and cycling are perfect ways to do this.

Stay Sharp

We spend our lives caring for our bodies, but what about our minds? Our mental sharpness goes downhill as we age, with degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s taking a huge toll on our mental health.

Turns out you can kill two birds with one stone: exercise is crucial to retaining a fully functional mind.


“Did you know that regular physical exercise can reduce your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to a stunning 50%?”

Reference: alzheimersprevention.org – EXERCISE & BRAIN AEROBICS

It achieves this by elevating chemical levels in the brain, particularly those that support learning and memory. The critical time window here is between your mid-20s and mid-40s; having a solid fitness program during these ages is an investment into the future you.

Wage War on Anxiety

As one of the most common mental health issues worldwide, anxiety takes a massive toll on our general wellbeing and quality of life.

We’ve all heard about exercise’s ability to fight stress, but the benefits also extend to anxiety and many related disorders.

Scientific evidence has highlighted the link between exercise and reduced levels of anxiety. Multiple studies have found that physically active people are at a lower risk of developing anxiety-related disorders than those with sedentary lifestyles.

Brain Booster


Along with the treatment of underlying mental issues, exercise can boost your brain power. Memory and cognition are improved by the increased oxygen flow to the brain promoted by exercise.

There’s a little catch though: these benefits only apply to aerobic exercise. If you’re feeling a little slow on the uptake, you might want to put down the dumbbells and hit the track!

Get Productive

We all know that sitting at a desk all day doesn’t encourage productivity.

That’s why there’s been a global revolution even in the corporate world; more and more companies take their employee’s physical well-being more seriously, offering free gym memberships, yoga classes and more.


They recognize the fact that exercise improves productivity, so they will see returns on their investment, with fitter, healthier employees contributing more than their sedentary colleagues.

Be Mindful

The benefits of mindfulness have been pushed into the global spotlight, hailed for improving feeling of well-being, concentration, relaxation and more.

The concentration required during exercise is in itself a form of meditation.

This will help pull you away from the worries and troubles in your life and building a more mindful existence.

Treat Addiction

Whether its alcohol, nicotine, or something heavier, there is a good chance that exercise can help you recover faster.

Addiction leaves your brain dependent on the endorphins that your chosen drug releases. During recovery, exercise can make up for this chemical imbalance via the endorphins released during physical activity.

Exercise is a natural means of correcting your brain chemistry; along with all the other benefits above that will aid your recovery.

Final Words – How to Stay Motivated For Working Out

When it comes to maintaining your mental health, it can be hard to know what’s wrong and right- but one universal truth is that exercise and mental health go hand-in-hand.

Relieving stress, treating addiction, depression, anxiety, and building self-confidence are but a few of the long list of benefits that exercise brings.

Trust that exercise is a proven recipe for building both a healthy mind and body.

Other Helpful Resources

youtube.comThe Rock; Workout Motivation Video