Exercise and Mental Wellness: What’s all the fuss about?

At Mates4Mates we recognise good physical and psychological health go hand in hand. Physical activity can be a great way to prevent, manage and rehabilitate our physical health, but did you know it can also have massive benefits to your psychological health and wellbeing?

Getting your body moving can be a great way to manage your mood, engage socially and change your environment. Physical activity has been shown to have several positive outcomes on mental health and wellbeing; from reduction of depression, anxiety and PTSD symptoms, to promoting feelings of calmness and wellbeing. We also know that from as little as three lots of 30-minute activity a week, you can make s significant impact on your overall wellbeing.  

For many Mates living with symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, stress and depression, it can sometimes be challenging to develop ongoing health strategies that help to promote body awareness, rather than body avoidance. Exercise can be a positive way to build comfort with the body and manage feelings of discomfort.  Additionally, physical activity provides a positive strategy for managing and preventing injury and illness; leading to a positive impact on your sense of wellbeing

However, despite exercise producing a near instant mood boost, finding motivation can be especially difficult after years of PTI and physical wear and tear injuries. Changing your relationship with physical activity to recognise these mood boosting impacts can remove some of the barriers related to exercise. So if you’re feeling unmotivated, why not try some of these useful tips to get you going:

  • First, focus on the feeling you get during and after exercise, rather than simply the weight loss or physical health goals
  • Make sure you’re setting simple, realistic and achievable goals
  • Try dividing your exercise into short chunks if you are struggling with energy or pain
  • Be clear about your expectations of physical activity, it does not always have to involve heavy cardio or weight training for lengthy periods of time
  • Change up your activities to keep it interesting. Step outside the gym, go for a bushwalk, swim, cycle or do a yoga session.

Mates4Mates offers a range of physical activities to assist you in your recovery journey. For a list of physical health and wellbeing activities, please contact your local FRC or explore some of the activities within your local community. If you would like to discuss how you can utilise physical activity to assist your psychological health and wellbeing, please phone your local FRC for an appointment with the Psychological Services Team or Exercise Physiologist.