The physical benefits of exercise are well-known but there are scientifically proven benefits for your mental wellbeing too. Exercise releases chemicals in your brain – called endorphins – that make you feel good, and exercise can be just as good a treatment for mild depression as antidepressants or other therapies. In some areas of the UK, doctors actually prescribe exercise.
Exercise also boosts the amount of serotonin the brain. This chemical is thought to play an important role in keeping your mood calm, so being active can help to combat anxiety and stress. It also helps you sleep better and improves your memory. And doing some form of exercise where you have to concentrate hard is a great way to take your mind off any worries you have.
If you’re feeling down, you might not feel much like exercising, so ask a friend to exercise with you, or join a team. You’ll be able to motivate each other. Make sure you choose an activity you enjoy, then you can set goals and reach your targets together.
All forms of exercise are good for you, but in particular, try dance, yoga, running, swimming, horse-riding or climbing.