Benefits of Exercise for Mental Health
Benefits of Exercise for Mental Health

Benefits of Exercise for Mental Health

By Stefanie Moore
Digital Marketing Coordinator

Exercising and working out is not just beneficial to your overall health, it is also essential to your mental health as well.

I am writing this as running and working out has benefited me a lot, mentally. A stressful day in the office, a stressful week, a lot going on, or just emotions going haywire, going for a run helps me keep that under control.

Exercise improves your mood. A run after a stressful day often makes oneself feel better. Michael Otto, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Boston University told the American Psychological Association “the link between exercise and mood is pretty strong. Usually, within five minutes after moderate exercise, you get a mood-enhancement effect.”

Research has shown exercise helps long term and helps alleviate depression. The evidence is based on experimental studies, as well as population-based correlation studies.

Researchers have also explored using exercise for treating anxiety.

Currently, researchers do not fully know which types and how much exercise can be useful for treating mental health conditions.

According to NAMI, “Exercise has been researched and validated for treating a variety of mental issues and mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, addictions, grief, relationship problems, dementia and personality disorders. Additionally, exercise alleviates such conditions as bad moods, stress, chronic pain and chronic illnesses.”

NAMI’s 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise include:

1. Heal your mind and body with exercise
2. Improve your self-esteem with exercise
3. Exercise as a family
4. Get motivated
5. Change how you think about exercise
6. Overcome roadblocks
7. Get FITT — Physically and mentally
8. Implement your vision and flourish

Before running, stress would overtake my mind, making me have anxiety. I will admit, I have anxiety over somethings still, but while working on them, and implementing exercise and running into my life, I have been able to handle it better.

I workout to improve my mind, reduce stress, improve my mood, alleviate anxiety, tap into creativity, and inspire others. I often run or workout with my husband. We have even done vacations around races. I also love running with my dog Buffy, if it’s not too hot for her. Yoga has also been very beneficial to me, as one of my yoga instructors have said, it helps you zen.

The HuffPost published 13 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise, which includes:

1. Reduce Stress
2. Boost Happy Chemicals
3. Improve Self-Confidence
4. Enjoy The Great Outdoors
5. Prevent Cognitive Decline
6. Alleviate Anxiety
7. Boost Brainpower
8. Sharpen Memory
9. Help Control Addiction
10. Increase Relaxations
11. Get More Done
12. Tap Into Creativity
13. Inspire Others.

For what benefit do you focus on gaining from working out?


Be sure to watch for updates from Highland-Clarksburg Hospital about its 3rd Annual Ugly Sweater Run in December 2018.

This year, Highland-Clarksburg Hospital (HCHI) is encouraging residents of WV to share their story and raise awareness of Mental Health Month with the hashtags #StigmaFreeWV and #MentalHealthMattersWV.

Assets are available on our website at which includes profiles photos, cover photos, fact sheets and more. There is also a link to share your story, anonymously if you would like.

Highland-Clarksburg Hospital is a private, non-profit mental health hospital located in Clarksburg, WV. HCHI offers services for youth, adults, and forensic patients, all suffering from mental health problems.
In the following weeks in May, we will feature blog posts written by staff and therapists here at Highland-Clarksburg Hospital. Posts will include information about breaking the stigma, warning signs of a mental health condition, improving mental health with exercise, nutrition, and mental health, and the top diagnosed mental illnesses.

For more information about Highland-Clarksburg Hospital, visit or call 304-969-3100. Keep up-to-date with our activities and events by following our Facebook page:


Highland-Clarksburg Hospital (HCHI) is a private, non-profit hospital that is dedicated to providing the best care for persons with mental disorders in West Virginia, parts of Ohio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. It has established an integrated system of high-quality behavioral health services, including mental health treatment services for Children, Adolescents’ and Forensic patients. Highland-Clarksburg Hospital is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Please note, not everyone can workout due to other health conditions, be sure to have a doctor’s approval.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. I found it interesting that you mentioned how exercise improves your mind, reduces stress, improves your mood, and more. I have found that every time I exercise I can think more clearly and generally have a better day. Your article does a great job expressing these ideas.

  2. It’s great that you mentioned that exercise can help you improve your self-confidence. I was recently diagnosed with depression and anorexia, and my doctor told me that besides eating healthier I should try exercising, something I haven’t done since I quit basketball in High School. Thank you so much for these tips, and I will try to find classes in my area that can help me get back in mental and physical health.

  3. It’s good that you point out that regular exercise can benefit people who suffer from anxiety. I have severe anxiety, so I’m considering going to a fitness center to get some exercise. I’m going to look for a good fitness center in my area to use.

  4. I really like this post. Exercise can make us mentally stronger. You can stay mentally strong if you exercise regularly

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