Psychological Benefits of Exercise

We often hear about the physical benefits of exercise (e.g., increasing heart health), less often are the psychological benefits promoted. Yet, engaging in a moderate amount of physical activity will result in improved mood and emotional states. Exercise can promote psychological well-being as well as improve quality of life.

  The following are common psychological benefits gained through exercise.   

  • Improved mood
  • Reduced stress as well as an improved ability to cope with stress
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Pride in physical accomplishments
  • Increased satisfaction with oneself
  • Improved body image
  • Increased feelings of energy
  • Improved in confidence in your physical abilities
  • Decreased symptoms associated with depression

As people experience these psychological benefits, it is likely that they also will be motivated to continue exercises so that they continue to receive these benefits.   How much exercise is needed to produce those effects?  

  • Even a brief walk at low intensity can improve mood and increase energy. As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise can have a positive effect.
  • For long-term benefits, you should exercise 3 times a week for 30 minutes per session at a moderate intensity.
  • Programs longer than 10 weeks work best for reducing symptoms of depression

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