Most of us have heard of it before, and refer to it as the “runners high”, with others having been fortunate enough to feel the effects of this term. The sense of euphoria, calming relaxation, or even balancing of our emotions after a difficult day at work all share a common starting ground in exercise.

But it doesn’t just have to be for runners, elite athletes, gym-bro’s, or fitness freaks. The “Runner’s High” is a real and physiological process that occurs in almost every form of physical activity. It not only improves your mental health, but even helps in preventing mental health conditions.

The ABC recently published an article discussing this exact topic. In which, they outlined that not only was exercise beneficial in any dosage, but it could also be used in place of traditional treatment methods such as medication, which commonly carries unwanted side effects.

However the link with physical activity and mental health isn’t just limited to those already suffering, as mentioned by Dr Singh “There is a lot of evidence to show that people who are regularly active over a long period of time have a lower rate of being diagnosed with a mental health condition”. 

Throughout the article, the ABC also suggests modalities in which everyday Australian’s can engage in regular physical activity; whether it be mindfulness exercises such as tai-chi, walks around Sydney’s gorgeous coastline, team sports at any level, to lifting heavy weight off the ground at the gym. It’s all GOOD for your mental health, along with being fantastic for the rest of your body at the same time. 

I’ve heard this before, but how does it actually work?

Our bodies are a cocktail of hormones and substances that are constantly interacting with each other. How these molecules interact with each other, and how many of them are in our body often determine everything from our emotions, our thoughts, how hungry or how tired we are. While not giving these systems much thought, they occur automatically and often determine our day from the get-go.

Exercise intervenes  by being a regulator to these automatic processes occurring in your body. It helps in flushing out our high stress hormones such as cortisol, improves blood flow to our brain increasing our cognitive abilities, as well as promoting the production of those feel good endorphins we call dopamine and serotonin.

While these effects are incredible, it’s important to remember that they are temporary, and regular engagement in physical activity is vital. The National Australian Guidelines suggest that adults aged 18 – 64 should be engaging in 150 minutes of light to moderate activity, or 75 minutes of high intensity exercise, along with twice weekly resistance training.

How will an Accredited Exercise Physiologist at Longevity help you?

All of Longevity’s Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEP’s) are university qualified allied health professionals that are specialised in the prescription and delivery of exercise, using it as a powerful intervention tool, to assist people across the health spectrum: Including mental health! As medical professionals, we have a deep understanding of the physiological process of the body around exercise, and use them to our benefit in order to propel you to long lasting health through personal and individualised exercise programs that you enjoy.

Our AEP’s will strive to always maintain direct and personal contact with you and your other treatment providers such as your GP, to allow for an easy and seamless process in starting, and throughout, your exercise journey. Our AEP’s will also maintain their hour-long appointment with you for life – taking the stress away from having to juggle an ever changing routine. 

Becoming a part of the Longevity community also provides you to access to much more than just a direct number to call for all your exercise and health queries: But access to a wider team of over 50 AEP’s across Sydney, Melbourne and the ACT that will work collaboratively behind the scenes to ensure you are receiving the highest level of care. The best part, we are entirely gym-based, giving you even greater access to an understandably intimidating, but forever welcoming community of like-minded individuals on the same journey as you. 

Ready for your first step towards improving your Mental Health?

Call Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne, EdgecliffMarrickvilleCastle HillRandwickPymbleKingsgrove, Neutral Bay, Rhodes, Five Dock, Casey, Gungahlin and Coburg on 1300 964 002 to start your journey too Longevity!

Written by Vasco Da Silva