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  • Writer's pictureHarrison Brown

Exercise for Mental Health

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

Depression is a common condition and rates of diagnosis are only increasing. Depression causes symptoms of sadness, fatigue, reduced pleasure, self-esteem and socialising. This can further lead to poor sleep, concentration, and appetite.


Exercise has been shown to be very effective in reducing and preventing depression. It can reduce depression symptoms such as improve fatigue, sleep, self-esteem and reduce anxiety. Regular exercise has been theorised to help with depression by:

· Endorphin chemicals released in the brain improving mood.

· Improve neural connections in the hippocampus which regulates our mood.

· Improving self-esteem achieving exercise related goals and self-worth.

· Having social support meaning exercising with friends/family or joining an exercise class may be beneficial.

What type of exercise is recommended?

It is now known that no particular exercise is better than another, so it is important to find an enjoyable type. For people with depression, it is recommended that supervised aerobic exercise should be completed 3-4 times per week. Aerobic exercise examples are brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling and rowing. Resistance training should also be included and aiming for 2 sessions a week is recommended. If you’re having trouble finding the motivation or want help finding a type of exercise you can realistically achieve, an Exercise Physiologist can assist. Exercise Physiologist’s are experts in facilitating behavioural and lifestyle changes to get an individual active again.

The push-up challenge

The push-up challenge runs over June for 24 days. The goal is to complete 3139 push-ups in this time as either an individual or a team, which represents the amount of people who died from suicide in 2020 in Australia. The challenge aims to raise awareness and funds for some great mental health organisations such as Lifeline, Movember and The Push for Better Foundation. The team at Geelong Rehabilitation Centre are participating for a second year in a row. If you would like to see our progress or donate, click on the link below!

Written by Harrison Brown (Accredited Exercise Physiologist)

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