Physioworks Pakenham
03 5941 5499

31 Main Street,

Pakenham VIC 3810

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Australian Physiotherapy Association
03 5941 5499

31 Main Street,

Pakenham VIC 3810

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Physioworks Pakenham
03 5941 5499

31 Main Street,

Pakenham VIC 3810

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by Dylan D’Souza, Exercise Physiologist, Physioworks Health Group


During Exercise Right Week it is opportune to think about not only the physical benefits of exercise, but also the mental benefits of exercise for your health and well-being.

Many in our community have encountered mental health issues within their life at some point, whether it be experienced by the individual themselves or someone they know.

Mental health disorders include a wide range of complications, with many different symptoms 1. There are many different mental health disorders which all present differently however, they are generally conditions involving changes to emotions, thinking and or behaviour.

Common disorders include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bi-Polar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Psychosis
  • Dementia
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Feelings of consistent low mood
  • Post-Traumatic stress disorder
  • Eating disorders

Not only do mental health disorders cause a great deal of suffering to individuals experiencing them, but also to those closest to them, including family and friends.

The burden of mental health issues continues to grow in Australia. During 2017-18 around 10.2% of the Australian population received medicare-subsidised mental health specific services. This number has increased significantly from 5.7% in 2008-09 2



  • 45% (7.3 million) of Australians aged 16-85 experience a common mental health disorder in their life time 2.
  • 3,128 people – equating to 8.6 deaths per day – took their own lives in Australia in 2017. 3.
  • Males were three times more likely to die by suicide than females 4.
  • Half of all lifelong mental health problems begin before the age of 14 4.

Just one hour of exercise per week can help to prevent Depression.

The Role of Exercise:


Exercise releases chemicals in the brain which are called endorphins, these are anti-stress hormones. One of its effects is to calm the brain and relieve muscle pain during strenuous exercise.

Exercise also regulates the same chemical messengers targeted by antidepressant drugs. Exercise elevates the concentration of Norepinephrine in the body which acts as a messenger between nerve cells, this increase “wakes the brain up”.

Exercise is also shown to increase self-esteem – and self-esteem is major component of mental health issues. Generally speaking, individuals that experience depression will also have low self-esteem.  Exercise also increases dopamine levels. Dopamine is a “feel good hormone” which is associated with feelings of euphoria, motivation and concentration.


Exercise Right 2019

Exercise Recommendations:


Different types of exercise may result in different response, both mentally and physically.

The Exercise Physiology (EP) team at Physioworks Health Group assess each individual and then tailor an exercise program specifically for you, taking into consideration any mental health challenges, as well as physical challenges, you maybe experiencing.

It is really important to do exercise which you actually enjoy. This helps you to stay motivated and consistent. A combination of both aerobic and resistance exercise have been shown to reduce depressive symptoms. Physical activity such as cycling, gym and Aerobic exercise team-based sports have had greater associations with good mental health.

Let the Physioworks EP team help you toward a healthier you. Talk to our EP team today.



  1. World Health Organization. Mental Health disorders