THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE
Studies into the benefits of exercise
Studies show that exercise is beneficial for both physical and psychological wellbeing.
In addition to all the benefits to our physical health – decreased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, neurodegenerative conditions and some cancers, and improved immune system – research also confirms the benefits to our mental wellbeing (Eime, Young, Harvey, Charity & Payne, 2013). Stonerock, Hoffman, Smith and Blumenthal (2015) suggest that ‘as a treatment for elevated anxiety or anxiety disorders, exercise offers benefits comparable to established treatments, including medication or CBT’; Bartley, Hay and Bloch (2013) note that in addition to improved mood, there's the bonus of well-evidenced general health benefits. As your fitness levels improve, and you realise that you've been able to achieve things you didn't believe you could, your confidence and self-esteem receive a boost, increasing the ability to deal with life’s stresses (Biddle, Fox & Boutcher, 2000; Whitelaw, Teuton, Swift & Scobie, 2010).
Bartley, C.A., Hay, M. & Bloch, M.H. (2013). Meta-analysis: Aerobic exercise for the treatment of anxiety disorders. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, 45, 34-39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2013.04.016
Biddle, S.J.H., Fox, K.R. & Boutcher, S.H. (2000). Physical Activity and Psychological Well-being. Oxon: Routledge
Eime, R.M., Young, J.A., Harvey, J.T., Charity, M.J. & Payne, W.R. (2013). A systematic review of the psychological and social benefits of participation in sport for children and adolescents: informing development of a conceptual model of health through sport. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. Retrieved from: https://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1479-5868-10-98
Stonerock, G.L., Hoffman, B.M., Smith P.J. & Blumenthal, J.A. (2015). Exercise as Treatment for Anxiety: Systematic Review and Analysis. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 49(4), 542–556, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12160-014-9685-9
Whitelaw, S., Teuton, J., Swift, J. & Scobie, G. (2010). The physical activity – mental wellbeing association in young people: A case study in dealing with a complex public health topic using a ‘realistic evaluation’ framework. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 3(2), 61-66. Retrieved from: https://www-sciencedirect-com.ezproxy.uwe.ac.uk/science/article/pii/S1755296610000256