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Five reasons why exercise is good for your mental health

Categories Lifestyle

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As a Australian Defence Force veteran with a decade of service under his belt, Anthony Richardson (above) has experienced the devastating impact of mental illness first hand.

Now, as the founder of AUSFIT Torsion Bars, he’s experienced just how good exercise is for mental health — and these are his five reasons why working out is great for your headspace.

It fights anxiety

The health benefits of exercise aren’t only physical, according to Richardson. “Almost one in five Australians are affected by a mental health challenge, with depression and anxiety being at the top of the list,” he explains. “It also releases those happy hormones called endorphins, which are absorbed by your brains receptors and transmit a message of euphoria to the rest of your body, instantly making you feel better.”

It’s social

Richardson began his career in fitness with group classes on Sydney’s Lower North Shore, and he’s seen how clients benefit from the extra social interaction. “Group fitness classes and fitness events are a great way to meet new people in a positive supportive environment,” he says. “The personal interactions and connections we make when we’re all pushing through a tough workout to a common goal creates a strong bond and the foundations for a great relationship.”

It enhances your productivity

The best way to get your brain moving? Get your body moving first. “When you’re feeling uninspired, or stuck, or like you can’t think straight, a short walk or a jog might be the answer you’re looking for. Next time you find yourself staring at the wall or computer, put on your runners and get outside. It will give you that boost of inspiration you might be looking for.”

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It clears the mind

Burn off that foggy sensation by burning off some calories, too. “When you’re in the depths of physical exhaustion, it’s easy to let your thoughts carry you into a myriad of stress and worry . . . Exercise is an effective way to naturally to clear the mind,” Richardson says. “Exercise is the perfect way to be present in the moment and help to clear your mind and re-energise your system.”

It boosts your self esteem

With all those endorphins floating around and a more toned body looking back at you in the mirror, it’s hard not to feel good about yourself. “We all know the awesome feeling you get after a good workout,” Richardson says. “On a physical level, exercise can boost self-image and can elevate a person’s perception of their own attractiveness. How’s that for self love!”

AUSFIT Torsion Bars and LIVIN are organising a team-based physical challenge at Barangaroo in Sydney on Sunday 23 April — visit the website for more details