The Correlation Between Mental Health and Exercise


Exercise can improve your well-being not just physically but also mentally. Exercise can boost your mood, concentration, and alertness. It can even help give you a more positive outlook on life. The levels of chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, stress hormones, and endorphins change when you exercise. Additionally, regular exercise can help you sleep better, and good sleep helps you manage your mood. Exercise can improve your sense of control, coping ability, and self-esteem. Being active can distract you from negative thoughts and provide opportunities to try new experiences. 

Numerous scientists have researched this subject and found a significant correlation between physi­cal activity and mental health. It has been determined that exercise improves mood and decreases symptoms of anxiety and depression. People diagnosed with depression undergoing aerobic exercise exhibited great improvements in depression symptoms compared to people who received only psychotropic treatment. One study suggests that physical activity inhibits depression and improves mental health (Ishii, et al., 2011).  Other more recent studies have found that people report a higher level of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure, and self-esteem, and a lower level of tension, depression, and fatigue after they have taken a walk outside. 

I asked student athlete Courtney Stevens various questions on how exercise makes her feel. Courtney makes sure she gets in physical activity each day by going to the gym. I first asked how being active makes her feel physically and mentally. Her response was, “Being active physically makes me feel better and makes me feel better about myself, but mentally it is a stress reliever and it makes me have more energy.” Another question I asked her was if she has ever noticed a difference in people’s moods that are more active compared to people that are less active. “I have noticed a difference comparing the two,” she noted, “I feel like people that are more active feel better about themselves and are more confident in themselves and are always a lot more positive in situations. They also seem to be a lot more focused.” 

In another interview, I talked to Mrs. Maloney about her opinions on exercise and if she thinks it could help students feel better mentally if they were active. She shared, “Being active is always a positive thing for anyone; it helps with being more healthy but also is a good reason for students to spend less time on phones and watching tv.” I inquired whether she can notice a change in students’ moods if they are more active. She replied, “I do not know everyone who is active or not but from the students that I know are more active seem to be more positive and more focused while in class.” 

I also interviewed one last person, Tyler Duchesne. One of Tyler’s hobbies is going to the gym. When asked why he enjoys working out, he responded, “I work out to better myself everyday and it takes worries away. I’m in my own world at the gym doing my own thing and doing it the best I can.”  

In conclusion, there is research that shows that being active is a positive thing overall. It may not affect everyone that same, but it can always be something to think about as a good way to make you feel better. Being active produces notable positive results for physical and mental well-being that people can feel.