How exercise encourages a healthy mind

Healthy Living > Mental health > How exercise encourages a healthy mind


Blog Article | By The Simplyhealth Team 22 May 2020

The NHS website says that people who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing many chronic conditions, like diabetes. This is good news right now, where those with chronic conditions are more vulnerable to the coronavirus. As we know, exercise is great for our health anyway, especially for those who suffer from stress and anxiety.


At Simplyhealth, we love encouraging people to exercise, whether it’s a marathon or a stroll down the road. So make the most of your daily exercise time while staying at least two metres away from passers-by, and get active. We’re rooting for you!

Exercise away your stress

Some of us may have anxiety around coronavirus. Concerns like having to self-isolate, not being able to see family and friends, or worrying whether you’ll get the virus. That’s without balancing the pressures of high work expectations with a busy family life, which can take its toll on your mind as well as your body. That has different effects on different people.


We should ask ourselves, what can I do to maintain a healthy mind? Practising mindfulness techniques and eating well can boost your wellbeing, as can exercise. Bestselling author and resilience thought-leader Liggy Webb lists morning exercise in her top 10 ways healthy at home, from both a physical and mental perspective.

Move to boost your mood

As well as helping people who suffer from mild depression, exercise can help relieve anxiety by increasing serotonin. This is a chemical which is responsible for maintaining mood balance. Healthline describes that exercise increases both serotonin production and release, especially in aerobic activity, like running and cycling. 


Regular exercise can help make you feel happier and more positive, so try to set aside some time to get out on your bike with your family now and again, or go for a run in the evening. You have an hour, make the most of it. 

Your running route to happiness

One way to get up and out? Fitness trackers. There are so many apps and devices now, even just on your phone, that can track how far you're going, how long you're out for, and the route you go. This gives a sense of gamification, like the couch to 5k challenge. It can give you the momentum to head out into the open air and will be evidence that you can do it.

Boost your brainpower

An active body means an active mind. When you exercise, the heart pumps more blood around the body; more oxygen reaches different parts. Studies show that active children can focus better during lessons and perform to a higher standard with English and maths.


Leading a sedentary lifestyle is neither good for your body or your mind. Studies show that exercise can considerably improve anxiety and mild depression, saving many people from needing prescription drugs. So, making the most of your daily exercise by going for a long walk can really help give your wellbeing a boost.

Get a better night’s sleep

How well do you manage to sleep every night? Do you go to bed at a regular time? Sleep deprivation impacts productivity and definitely makes people more irritable. And we can all be guilty of going to bed a bit later than we should.  


There are many factors which could be affecting your sleep, including stress, drinking caffeine in the evening, looking at your phone straight before bed, or leading a sedentary lifestyle. These can lead to insomnia, where you may have trouble getting to sleep, you sleep lightly, repeatedly wake up throughout the night, or still feel tired when you awake in the morning.


Research found sleep increases happiness, liveliness, and concentration throughout the day, which means it's worth finding out how to sleep better.

Mental and physical health are equally important

Start with a simple routine


89% of adults rate themselves personally four or five out of five in terms of responsibility for their own health and wellbeing. After all, you have the most control when it comes to what you eat, what you do, and how you do it. It’s never too late to increase the amount you exercise. If you know your lifestyle could be more active, then why not start by counting your steps? There are loads of apps to help you reach your target too.


What if you’re feeling like something a bit more intense? It doesn’t have to be a marathon. In fact, sprinting in between jogging is great for improving your fitness and metabolism. After a stressful day, you’ll feel calmer and more relaxed.


Stay safe during exercise


If you’re running, bear in mind that you’ll be breathing heavier than walkers, and it may be good to stay a greater distance away than two metres. Water droplets are expelled when we breathe out, as you’ll see if you breathe on a mirror. The Government website says, “The more you come into contact with the droplets from coughs and sneezes of an infected person, the more likely you are to catch the infection.”


We’ve been gathering tons of useful content to share with you to help you power through this challenging time of staying at home alone or with loved ones. Check out some other topics on our Healthy Living Hub.

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