Get Moving to Improve your Mental Health
Tuesday, April 18, 2023

By: Julie Lumbao, CPT

Mental health is an incredibly important part of our overall well-being. Recent evidence suggests that adopting an exercise regime into our daily life can make us feel more energetic, relaxed and positive.  Physical activity has an immediate effect on the brain’s chemistry, boosting dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin levels. Norepinephrine and serotonin are important because they significantly impact mental health. Norepinephrine provides the body a sudden boost of energy in times of stress. While serotonin is more of a mood booster. Dopamine is known as a happy hormone and is involved in helping us feel pleasure.  From stress relief to helping improve your mood, exercise can benefit your mental health in great ways. Let’s take a look at the benefits of exercise and mental well-being.

  1. Increased energy levels
  2. Reduced feelings of anxiety and stress
  3. Learning new exercises and routines can improve cognitive function
  4. Being physically active can improve sleep
  5. Lower the risk of dementia
  6. Better quality of life
  7. Decreased risk for depression
  8. Enhanced physiological health
  9. Fosters social connection
  10. Boosts self-esteem

We have an opportunity to not only improve our physical health with exercise but also the powerful ability to boost our mental health as well.  Participating in exercise can enhance an individual’s self-esteem by providing a sense of accomplishment, which has a direct impact on our mental health. It can provide clarity and decrease stress levels. Whether you exercise individually or with a friend or group, individuals should participate in activities that they like. According to the CDC, it is recommended to work your way up to 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity. The top exercises linked to mental health benefits were ones that were focused on cardiovascular fitness, mindful-based practices and activities that were enjoyable. Beach Cities Health District’s Center for Health and Fitness offers a variety of exercise classes for all fitness levels for the community. See our class schedule and membership information here.

Remember that healthy habits take time to build. Start small and build up your activity based on your fitness level. It is recommended that you consult with your general physician prior to beginning any fitness program.  Don’t forget to celebrate the small successes and keep going. Next time you’re feeling anxious, depressed, stressed or you just want to improve your mood, get up and get moving!

In conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the Center for Health and Fitness is hosting a weekly mindfulness class every Wednesday in the Jade Room from 12:15 -1 p.m.  Reservations are required. Inquire with our Membership Services Department at (310) 374-3426, option 3.