It’s no secret that moving your body is great for your mind. Not only does exercise maintain physical health, it is one of the best things that you can do for your mental health. The word ‘exercise’ is a little daunting, so we’re going to call it ‘movement’. No, this doesn’t mean that you have to start training for a marathon - this can be as little as a 20-minute walk. So, let’s introduce some of the ways that movement benefits your brain: 

Movement Relieves Stress

If you’re stressed or anxious, it can be easy to overthink and drive yourself into a bit of a panic. Moving your body helps to relax the mind and take your focus away from the stressor. Biologically, movement decreases adrenaline and cortisol levels, which are your body’s main stress hormones*.

Movement Increases Mood

Have you heard of happy hormones? They sound great, don’t they! Well, hormones, such as serotonin and dopamine are released during physical activity and work to enhance your mood. This is where the term ‘runner's high’ comes from, as runners feel uplifted by increased levels of happy hormones. 

Movement Gives You a Sense of Achievement

On days when movement seems a little tough, this is when it is most important. Overcoming obstacles, like tiredness and self-doubt, gives a rewarding sense of achievement. Self-discipline and working towards your goals, even when it seems difficult, elevates even the smallest of wins.

Movement Helps You Sleep

Sleep and movement go hand-in-hand in a sort of cyclical relationship. Sleep is needed to re-energise your body and mind, allowing it to perform the following day. Using this energy to move your body can then enhance your quality of sleep, by regulating your sleeping pattern.

If you’d like to reap the rewards of one or all of the above, incorporating movement into your daily routine is one of the best things that you can do. Movement can mean different things for different people, from walking to weightlifting, but everyone’s mind is equally deserving of the benefits.


*Harvard Health Publishing, 2020