Each year 1 in 5 Australians are affected by a mental illness. Mental illness includes a range of conditions for example depression, which can impact a person’s cognitive, behavioural and social functioning. Sadly, people with a mental illness die earlier than the rest of the population, mostly due to preventable cardiovascular disease. General Practitioners (GPs), alongside Psychologist, Psychiatrist and allied health professionals, form part of a multidisciplinary care team aimed at improving well-being of the patient.
There is significant evidence that suggests exercise is an effective part of treatment for people living with acute or chronic mental illness. At times, exercise is equally or even more effective than medication, without the side effects. In saying that exercise can also decrease the side effects (e.g. weight gain, elevated blood pressure) of prescribed medications. Before altering your medications it is recommended you speak to your team of health professionals. Some benefits o fexercise on mental health include:
- improved memory
- improved focus and ability to think
- improved sleep
- reduced stress
- opportunity for social interaction
The evidence-based guidelines recommend the following:
- People with depression: Moderate intensity aerobic exercise 3/week or High intensity resistance training 3/wk.
- People with anxiety: 30mins 3/wk.
These are merely guidelines and should be altered according to your health with an accredited exercise physiologist. But remember any exercise is better than nothing. As little as 1 hour a week could have prevented 12% of depression cases.
Visit your GP and receive an enhanced primary care (EPC) plan to see an accredited exercise physiologists. Exercise physiologists have an in depth understanding of all medical conditions and can assist your treatment of mental health. Together with your exercise physiologist you can create a realistic and achievable treatment plan specific to your health and goals.
Contact us at Ex Phys Australia on 1300 869 169 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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