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Exercising to improve mental health. What exercise is best?

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

Low mood and depression can be brought on by any number of things and the first time it hits can take a person by surprise and it can be very difficult to know how to deal with it.

Feelings of anxiety-low or high are often dealt with by trying to ignore it and brushing to one side as just a one off.

Think of exercise as this tool belt below. You have lots of different tools/exercise that can help you keep you take care of your mental health, it can help repair and also help prevent low mood and depression.In the same way you would use a tool to repair or tighten up a few bits around the house to prevent things deteriorating.You use the exercise in exactly the same way for your mental health,the exercise is the tool belt. You have unlimited options of which tool is best for the job and the more you use the tools the better shape your home will be in. The more you exercise the better shape your mind will be in.

Although medication has its place it often comes with side effects and they don't allow a person to know how to prevent future episodes or deal with how they are feeling.

The best part is exercise is free and all the side effects are good!

What exercise is best?


Exercise takes form in many ways. Walking, running, Hiking, Rowing, Cycling, gardening, swimming, resistance training, Pilates, Yoga, High intensity interval training.

Research has proven that the type of exercise that you do isn't that important. Its moving the body, and doing it consistently that is important. Anxiety and depression usually build up as the day goes on making it even harder to exercise. It can be useful to exercise first thing in the morning before the day begins before the anxiety and the excuses start to creep in and the self doubt and the obstacles of every day life. It also sets you up for whatever life is about to bring you that day/week.

It can be hard to get started, to know where to start ,what to do. Then when you we add in anxiety and depression, low mood low self esteem it makes it even harder to think about exercise, motivation is low. All of these things make it very difficult to get started.

When a person is feeling low or depressed just to do some form of exercise is enough make a difference in lifting the mood. That is the main goal. Exercising to lift the mood. We aren't thinking about weight loss or muscle gain or fitness or strength its purely medicine for the mind.

Exercise that makes you feel good about yourself. Choosing a type of exercise.

How about thinking more about the type of exercise you could do? Something you could enjoy, that You wouldn't mind doing on a regular basis. Exercise is as a tool kit for life something you can use again and again to help mend and prevent your mood from taking a downward turn . A good friend that is always there and never lets you down. Ask a friend or a close relative to join you in your exercise to help keep you or get you motivated.

In order to get to the other side and feel better we have to put aside some time and give up some of the things things that make us feel good for a short time to invest in the exercise that makes us feel better mentally and physically better long term. It may take you to try a variety of different exercise to find out which one you prefer and that is perfectly ok.

If we approach exercise and ourselves exercising with compassion and encouragement then when it feels hard we can approach that in a whole different way that makes exercise feel good.


1: When/if possible exercise first thing in the morning.

2: Book a class and pay for a block to make sure you keep going

3: Ask a friend or family member to exercise with you -(some or all of the time)

4: Choose something that doesn't fill you with dread (maybe something you have enjoyed in the past or something that you don't mind doing or may possibly enjoy)

5: Remember why you are doing this-(once you have done it once And it feels good each time you exercise and it feels hard or you feel anxious about it remind yourself of how good you felt last time and although it may be difficult whilst your doing it you know you will feel good at the end)

6: Eat a snack or a light meal before you exercise so that you are not hungry and weak during your exercise. (this will make it a negative experience)

7: Eat after your exercise to replace some of the energy you have expended as food and lack of it or the wrong food can have a lot to do with how we feel. (I'll come to this topic in another blog)

8: If exercising in the evening after work, take your exercise clothes with you and go straight after work.

9: If You are exercising from home in the day or in the evening write out a sticky note and place reminders in the home or add reminders into your phone.

I hope You find this information useful and interesting.Perhaps it may spring into your mind if you ever hit a low patch or you are going through a low phase in your life right now. Or perhaps it will give you confidence to help a friend or someone you know at work or at a club or a friend of a friend. Staying silent and hoping it will get better or go away unfortunately isn't going to help.

If You or anyone you know is suffering from depression click on the links below for professionals that are there to help listen. You don't have to struggle on alone.

It can be so hard to get started with exercise when we are feeling well and when we feel low or depressed its hard enough to concentrate on getting to work and managing your daily life but exercise really does help so if you would like some help in getting started please feel free to contact me for a chat and explore options, There is no obligation to start anything it can be enough to get someone stated just to talk through different options, and I'm only to happy to help. Contact

Mobile 07712453348

Written by Joanna Boyes


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