Did you know that 1 in 5 Australians have reported that they suffer a mental or behavioural condition? 1 in 20 have reported to having suffered both an anxiety and mood disorder according to the Bureau of Statistics.

The annual cost of mental illness is approximately $20 billion, with much of that being lost cost of labour and productivity.

Research is now focusing on the benefits exercise has on mental health, not just for people with mental illness, but for the population as a whole. It is now seen as another treatment method for those with mental illness due to the effects it has on the brain, and how exercise can positively influence mood as well as the overall benefits it has to the body.

What is the science behind it?

There are a couple of schools of thought. The first one is that when you exercise, endorphins are released, which are chemicals that travel around the body. Endorphins are able to improve immunity, pain perception and mood. They are commonly known as the “feel good” chemicals, and with exercise can lift mood.

The second school of thought relates to the neurotransmitters that are released during exercise. Dopamine, GABA and serotonin are a few of the neurotransmitters that are released during exercise. Research has suggested that those with depression and other mental illnesses have lower levels of these neurotransmitters. Research has looked at the effect exercise has on these neurotransmitters and have found that after regular bouts of exercise, the levels of these neurotransmitters have improved.

Exercise not only benefits physiologically, but mentally as well. Exercise is proven to also boost concentration, improve memory, manage stress more effectively and improve sleeping patterns and productivity.

We run several programs for improving mental health that could be of benefit to you and your workplace. Get in contact with us today for more information.