Youth Blog: Maintaining A Healthy Mind Through Exercise

By Sayide Ahemode

Loved and hated, exercise is essential to human beings in more ways than one. For many, it serves as an outlet to gain confidence, become physically healthier, and interact with other like-minded people. However, did you know exercise is also vital to our mental health?  Used in the treatment of many mental health disorders, exercise serves as a provider of temporary relief from the symptoms that are present.

Starting with anxiety disorders. These disorders are chronic, debilitating, and impact multiple aspects of one’s life. Exercise up to 30 minutes a day can significantly relieve the effects of anxiety disorders. Exercise can not only distract a person from whatever it is they are worrying about, but it can also boost the production of anti-anxiety neuronmechinals in the brain, thus making exercise a great release from pent-up anxiety. 

Another disorder that improves upon exercise is OCD. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a chronic condition characterized by persistent thoughts or rituals and affects about 1 in 40 people. Treatment of it often involves specialized therapy like exposure therapy and medication. However, studies have found that a new and effective way to manage OCD is exercise. Exercise works because it could be likened to a form of exposure therapy, in that it exposes the person to uncomfortable feelings which they have to get through in order to feel better afterwards. It is recommended that, for the maximum benefit, a person with OCD should get 30 minutes or more of exercise on most days. Also, it is important to note that ten minutes of exercise several times a day can be as effective as one longer period especially if you pay mindful attention to the movement process. Although exercising is only a temporary relief from the suffering caused by OCD, it is an integral part of the solution to manage it, and ultimately, it should not be overlooked.

Simple exercises from walking to swimming can be integral to the management of one’s mental disorders. However, for people without such disorders, exercise is not only great for the body but also a well-recognized strategy for the avoidance of burnout and other common stressors in life. Exercise should never be neglected, it is something we ought to all do for the sake of maintaining our health.


Reference List

How to look after your mental health using exercise. (2021, May 14). Retrieved from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-using-exercise#:~:text=

Physical activity has a huge,can reduce stress and anxiety.

Owen Kelly, P. (2020, September 17). How Aerobic Exercise Can Reduce a Patients OCD Symptoms. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/exercise-may-be-an-important-ocd-self-help-strategy-2510630#:~:text=

Exercise may cause the release,mood and fending off stress.

Being Active. (2019, February 26). Retrieved from https://www.anxietycanada.com/articles/being-active/

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