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Nov 17, 2016

Healthy Living: Exercising for Your Mental Health

If you’ve been putting off getting into an exercise routine; then maybe the next segment of Healthy Living will give you the added push. Exercise – we all know by now- is good for our bodies but it can also significantly improve how we feel. Professional Counselor, Aimee Jex, outlines the top three ways that exercise affects our mental health.


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

A healthy body includes a healthy mind. Cardio and weightlifting won’t only enhance your body, but it will also improve your mind. Counselor Aimee Jex says she continuously recommends exercise in addition to therapy when she works with her clients.


Aimee Jex

Aimee Jex, Professional Counselor, BMA

“I see a lot of people with sleep issues and anxiety because people are not tired enough, their body isn’t tired enough they just keep thinking all day about whatever is stressing them out. So they need that extra activity to help them sleep better.”


Better sleep is only one reason to get out and move. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a gym rat or a fast walker; studies have consistently proved that getting your heart rate up also positively affects your mental health. Jex outlines the three ways exercise affects your mental health.


Aimee Jex

“One of the key things about exercise is that it makes you feel good because there are little things in your brain called endorphins that rush through your body and it gives you that—people call it a runner’s high—or you feel good after you come back from the gym or you play sports. And some people who exercise at night just can’t get rid of it and they get pumped all day and all night long. It’s the thing that makes you feel happier so the more endorphins you have in your system like after you have a nice conversation, you get some endorphins. After you eat chocolate or your favorite food, you get endorphins. So it is something that your body has and the more you have of it, the better you feel. So that is one of the most basic ways that exercise affects your mental health.”


The after high is only one way that exercise boosts your mental fitness. Jex says that for some people it’ll be their own form of therapy.


Aimee Jex

“I like to think of it as giving yourself that “me time.” Even if you are in a group sport or if you are running or you are doing weights; whatever your exercise is, it is time away from your stressors. So it is kind of like a fun time. Some people go to the gym three times a week for an hour, an hour and a half; some people go every day, some people have to run every day because they get that time to tackle with their things or they take a break from the issues that they have in their lives. It helps you to organize your day, it helps you to have that break; it helps you to just feel a little bit more relax from all of the pressures that you are having. It could be sort of like a little counseling session where you get to be your own counselor and you say, I’m going to give myself an hour break or as I exercise, I can think about things a little bit more calmly away from the situation where I am tackling it or different things like that. So it is a little bit of a me time that you give yourself that space, that time to just handle things from a different way. The third way you can look at exercise is a way to regain control over yourself. You look at it for example in your self-esteem. You have something…if your self-esteem is low, you may have a little issue with this or a little issue with that and the exercise helps you to tackle that, especially when we look at ourselves, when we look at our body, when we look at our habits…we are dissatisfied with something or the other in our lifestyle. And that exercise helps to put it in perspective. So if you’ve been call fat your whole life or you’ve been called skinny your whole life—yo too maaga, you need fi lose some weight. If you hear those things and you hear people tackling you with this and that and throwing all these things at you, this is your way to separate yourself from that and say I have an issue with my bear gut so I will address that. I don’t care what people say about my drinking but this is my way of addressing it. Or if you have always had skinny legs, you can go to the gym and address that area. And you can feel better about yourself. The thing about exercise is that it is not about anyone else; it’s about what makes you feel better about yourself.”


So the next time you want to hit snooze on the gym alarm in the morning, think about the positive effects that not just your body but your mind is missing as well.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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