Exercise Improves Mental Health

Dear Writer,
Our team of researchers have compiled what we to believe to be
an excellent source of materials for your articles on how exercise effects and improves
mental health. We introduce the topic with definitions, a brief word on the historical context and things to think
about given the topic background, articles about different exercise modalities that help promote mental health.
We also include materials that will support our ideas how certain exercises have been shown to improve
our mental health. We want to thank you for giving us this opportunity
and wish you luck during the writing process.
All the best,
Anthony, Dhilon, Harry, Elron, Elizabeth, Patricia



Mental Health problems are a growing concern in both research and everyday life. In a study, investigating canada’s mental health crisis. (Centre for Addiction and mental health, 2006)
The following statistics were reported:

  • 333 out of 1000 canadians in hospitals beds at any given moment are there because of neutral illness.
  • 210 out of 1000 Canadians will suffer a mental illness over their lifetime
  • 48 in 1000 will experience major depression in any given year

The world health organization has predicted that depression will be 2nd only to cardiovascular disease as the world’s leading cause of death and disability by the year 2020 (Murray + Lopez, 1997)

In the past, mental health issues have been treated by psychotherapy and or medication. Although by psychotherapy and or medication. Although all therapy is beneficial exercise, especially long term exercise programs have been shown to be beneficial in a variety of ways and have a much higher level of efficiency and affordability associated. indeed exercise the body can improve both physical and mental health.

Center for Addiction and Mental Health(CAMH). (2006). The changing faces of mental health and mental illness in Canada.Toronto, ON:CAMH

Murray,C.J., & Lopez, A.D. (1997). Alternative projections of mortality and disability by cause 1990-2020:Global Burden of Disease study.Lancet, 349,1498-1504.

Peter R.E Crocker (Eds.).(2011). Sport and Exercise Psychology. Toronto, ON: Pearson Prentice Hal



According to World Health Organization Health is a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.

WHO definition of Health. (2003). World Health Organization. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/about/definition/en/print.html

Mental Health

The definition of mental health is always changing. Originally the definition of mental health was the idea of a normal person without any symptoms of a mental Illness. This idea is now changed to a more holistic approach. Today, Mental health is not only looking at the mental illness a person has. According to World Health Organization, “Mental health is not just the absence of mental disorder. It is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”. Canadian Mental Health Association mentions a psychology called “positive psychology”. Positive psychology is an observational study that is conducted by Martin E.P. Seligman, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania. It is the concept where they find the positive attribute to help make a persons happy. Martin E.P Selgman includes optimism, hope, honesty, interpersonal skills, work ethic and perseverance, that help people a positive quality.

Meaning of Mental Health. (2014). Canadian Mental Health Association. Retrieved from http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/meaning-of-mental-health/#.U0OY-15N3wJ

What is mental health? (2007). World Health Organization. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/features/qa/62/en/**


Body, according to Merriam-Webster encyclopedia, it is “the main or greater part of something as distinguished from its subordinate parts”. Such in plants, animals and humans, body is identified as the largest portion wherein smaller parts are attached and supported. For example in humans, the trunk is the largest structure of the body in which limbs are attached.

Merriam-Webster. (2014). Encyclopedia. {e-book version}. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/body


Mind is defined as the “part of a person that feels, thinks, wills, and especially reasons”. It is generally more associated with non-physical aspect of an individual - emotion, cognition, agency, and logic.

Merriam-Webster. (2014). Encyclopedia. {e-book version}. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/mind


According to Alfred Adler humans are hardwired to respond to stress using either the fight or flight response, the instinctive physiological reaction a threatening situation, which readies one either to resist forcibly or to run away. Unfortunately, The fight or flight response is not useful for most of the stressors humans encounter in modern life because our lifestyles have changed dramatically, in fact most of today's relevant stressors cannot be dealt with by fighting or running away, at least not long term. In the past, the demands for fulfilling basic needs for food and safety made good use of our heightened arousal. Today, there much more relevant stimuli and factors involved. According to our research one of the best ways to relax your mind and cope with stress, is to exercise. Many people are exploring meditation as a form of stress management. Mediation has shown to be of significant value in the treatment of hypertension and psychosomatic illnesses. There are different forms of meditation, such as yoga or Zen which go back thousands of years in modern history as early as ancient Indian civilization around 500 BCE, though yoga has more recently gained a western awareness in the 19th century.

As long as people have been aware of their behaviour they have been aware of how certain behaviours can mould and shape their own mental states. The link between psychology and sport has been written about as early as 1899, as William James once wrote that exercise was essential to "furnish the background of sanity, serenity…and make us good-humored and easy of approach." Indeed the benefits of exercise on our mood have even made their way into mainstream colloquialisms such as “walk if off” even the formation of teams and team sport psychology have become disciplines on their own due to a noticeable different in team psychology and the pro social behaviour associated with sports and even exercise. For example marathons,since 1896 the modern olympic games have been run by massive groups of people, it is easy to understand why a group of people might come to together uniting against a common goal of saying defeating an opposing team. But in the case of a marathon no one directly appears to benefit, making it a reasonable guess that the benefit is not overt or visible but rather a reactive effect, that exercising the body benefits the mind.

Charlesworth, CM, & Nathan RG. (2004). Stress management: a comprehensive guide to wellness. New York: Ballantine Books.

James, W. (2005). The Project Gutenberg eBook of Talks to Teachers. Retrieved from http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16287/16287-h/16287-h.htm

Athens 1986 Summer Olympics. (2013). Olympic.org. Retrieved from http://www.olympic.org/Athens-1896-summer-olympics

Types of Exercising: (How they affect the brain, Experiments)



Yoga is really about creating balance in the body through developing both strength and flexibility. This is done through the performance of poses or postures, each of which has specific physical and mental benefits. In yoga there is a term called Pranayama, which means to extend the vital life force. While the best way to practice pranayama is under the guidance of an experienced teacher, there are simple techniques such as gentle diaphragmatic breathing and comfortably lengthening the exhalation that can be used at any time to transform not only your breath but also your state of mind.It is said that the simple practices of pranayama, it help reduce stress and anxiety; promote restful sleep, ease pain, increase attention and focus. This also helps people to connect to a calm, quiet place within and they would experience a greater clarity and wellbeing. Breathing brings forth abundant benefits spanning the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of yoga. They tend to manipulate the breath so one can attains a powerful sense of connection, expansion and rejuvenation.
There was a study that observed the benefits of regular yoga practice over the course of 10 months. 54 trainees ages 20-25 were divided into two random groups, a yoga group and a control group. The yoga group had 23 males and 5 females who practiced yoga for 5 months while the control group had 21 males and 5 females did not perform any yoga exercises in the first 5 months. From the 6th till 10th months both the yoga and control groups performed yoga exercises and data was recorded throughout the experiment. The 5th to 10th month the yoga group had improvements in performance at submaximal level of exercise and in anaerobic threshold in the yoga group. Shoulder, hip, trunk and neck flexibility improved in the yoga group. There were improvements in various psychological parameters like reduction in anxiety and depression and a better mental function after yogic practices when compared to the control group.

The purposes of this study were (A) to address the feasibility of providing a gender-responsive exercise intervention within a correctional institution and (B) to observe the effect of a group-format yoga program that met two sessions a week for 12 weeks. This is a repeated measure design where each person were to complete a self-administered test. The Beck Depression Inventory, the Beck Anxiety Inventory, and the Perceived Stress. 21 women participated in this experiment and only 6 women completed. The results were as followed, a significant linear decrease was demonstrated in symptoms of depression over time, there was a marginally significant decrease in anxiety over time and a nonlinear change in stress over time(anthony)

Benefits of Yoga Breathing. (n.d.).Benefits of Yoga Breathing. Retrieved April 8, 2014, from http://www.myyogaonline.com/community/blog/benefits-of-yoga-breathing

Ray US, Mukhopadhyaya S, Purkayastha SS, Asnani V, Tomer OS, Prashad R, Thakur L, Selvamurthy W (2001).Effect of yogic exercises on physical and mental health of young fellowship course trainees. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. 45(1):37-53.

Harner, H. Hanlon, A. Garfinkel, M.(2010). Effect of Iyengar Yoga on Mental Health of Incarcerated Women: A Feasibility Study. Nursing Research. 59(6), 389-399. doi: 10.1097/NNR.0b013e3181f2e6ff

Sports Training

Sports training consider two aspects of an individual: body and mind. The body is more associated with the overall physical health/aspect of an individual while the mind, intangible and unseen, works with mental health/aspect. Improving the body and mind at the same time is extremely hard but achievable.

a. Sports training - improving an individual/athlete’s body condition as preparation to sporting events. Focuses on gaining strength, endurance, flexibility, agility and power through specific types of sports and intensity of such drills. Often leads to “morphological, physiological, biochemical and psychological changes” as well (Kurz, p.3).

b. Psychological training – refers to “developing qualities of strong will that are important for training and competing but also plays a huge role outside sports” (Kurz, p.277). When dealing with psychological training, it mainly focuses on developing mental skills associated with emotional states, peak-performance state, and managing concentration, and working on an individual’s mental imagery.When dealing with psychological training, it mainly focuses on developing mental skills associated with emotional states, peak-performance state, using an individual’s mental imagery, and managing concentration and working on an individual’s mental imagery.

Individual vs. Team Sports

Individual Sports - a type of sports in which there is only one participant from a team. It is played as either a contact or a non-contact sport. In contact sports, it is usually the case where physical contact is permitted or also known as “combat sports” (Kurz, p.23). Athletes tend to focuses more on their physique, to give them advantages. Athletes that participate in a non-contact sport, participate in a type of sports in which there is no contact with their opponents. Non-contact sports athlete usually participates in a consecutive or simultaneous competition. Frequently, the sports, either contact or non-contact, are played in a manner that there is more than two competitors facing each other. In some cases, there are sports that are either a contact, or a non-contact, but the contest is between two individual participants only. This is referred as individual encounter sports. An example of this is tennis, boxing, chess, etc. (Kurz, p.22-23)

Team Sports – played in such that there is more one player involved in each team, in either a contact or non-contact game. Cooperation within the athletes that belongs in the same team is required, to give them advantage against their opponent(s). Examples are basketball, bowling, and curling. (Kurz, p.22-23)

Recreational vs. Competitive
Competitive Sports –are performed at a very competitive level amongst athletes, like the Olympics. The focus in such sports is tactics or single techniques mastered by the competing individual. Upon training, it involves formal and competitive types of activities because it is improving the whole aspect of an individual in order to be physically and mentally prepared for the high level sports competition (Kurz, p. 29-30). The role of psychological training is often associated when dealing with competitive sports because at this level of competition, most professional trained athletes compete against one another, not only through physical but including mental toughness. Individual who is able to initially adjust with the physical and mental pressure happening at the same time to the body is believe that their mindsets are more prepared so they tend to perform better during the sporting event rather than those who has only been training physically. It definitely be due to the lack of willpower and emotional control that is why when anxiety strikes, their entire body give up too because they do not know how to control/prevent it. According to Kurz, “qualities of a strong will are such traits as purposefulness, discipline, initiative, self-sufficiency, self-control, confidence, courage, perseverance, and decisiveness” (Kurz, 279). Thus, having a strong will automatically affects an individual’s physical condition, leading to overcome difficulties, in which coordinate of both mind and body will occur.

Recreational sports - referring to mainly the type of sports that focuses on games/activities, and could be considered as light training for some athletes. These activities do not intend to get to any high level of competitiveness, the goal is primarily to engage in social interaction, or to have fun while participating in sports. There is a fitness component. But the athletics are secondary.

The difference between levels of competitiveness is mainly social as the interaction between athletes changes from a more casual and friendly environment to one with higher stakes, though all types of sport do foster social interaction and prosocial behaviour which in turn boost individual's social aspects of their self concept and improve mental health in terms of providing opportunities for peer interaction toward a common goal.

Fortier, M. Vallerand, R. Beriere, N. Provencher, P. (1995). Competitive and recreational sport structures and gender: a test of their relationship with sport motivation. International Journal of Sport Psychology. 26(1),24-39. ww.selfdeterminationtheory.org/SDT/documents/1995_FotierVallerandBrierProvencher_IJSP.pdf

Kurz, T. (2001). Developing Mental Toughness. In Science of Sports Training (second ed,. p.277-278). Island Pond, VT: Stadion.
Kurz, T. (2001). Developing Mental Toughness. In Science of Sports Training (second ed,. p. 3). Island Pond, VT: Stadion.

d. Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise is a type of exercise in which cells and muscles in the body are dependent on energy to function. Exercises that could be done for a long period of time but at the range of intensity is at light to moderate, such as cardio, jogging or running, and swimming, usually works at this level. On the other hand, anaerobic exercise does not require oxygen because most of its activities and exercises- like sprints, speed skating, and weightlifting, are under short duration but extremely powerful. The word Aerobic and Anaerobic are often used in biological studies in which it many research has been conducted and finds out that both types of exercise results to different effects on the mind.

Numerous studies have found that there is a relationship in the decline of brain volume and aging. High-resolution magnetic resonance imagings were utilize to observe the brain structure of adults. The findings were consistent and showed the degradation of brain volume. However, a study by Peter Vitaliano, shows that aerobic exercise does not only affect the cardiovascular health of an individual but also extends to brain health. Findings shows that aerobic exercise significantly helps prevent the decline of tissue density in certain parts of the brain, such as frontal, parietal, and temporal cortices most especially to geriatric populations.

Vitaliano, P. (1995). Cardiovascular Recovery From Laboratory Stress: Biopsychosocial Concomitants in Older Adults. Journal of Psychomatic Research.39(3), 177.http://www.academia.edu/3787861/Stress_and_Cardiovascular_Recovery

Colcombe, S. Erickson, K. Raz, N. Webb, A. Cohen, N. McAuley, E. Kramer, A. (2002). Aerobic Fitness Reduces Brain Tissue Loss in Aging Humans. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical. 58 (2): M176-M180. doi: 10.1093/Gerona/58.2.M176

Martial Arts

Tai Chi Quan

Tai Chi Quan, a type of Chinese internal martial arts, is mainly used for the health benefits one will gain from doing it. In this article 30 college students are subjects to a 3 month cause and effect experiment. The experiments are assessed using a health survey questionnaire called SF-36v2 before the experiment and after. They are to participate in a 1 hour session, 10 minutes of breathing and 50 minutes of 24 forms of tai chi, twice a week for 3 months. A lot of things were assessed during this experiment; one was the perception of mental health of the college students. It was resulted that mental health, and also vitality and mental/emotional function, improved significantly after the experiment. At the end, when doing the SF-36v2, it was resulted that the mental health of the college student increases so fast, the rate was unbelievable. At the end of this experiment, it is recommended and may even happen, that universities and colleges should have tai chi programs for students.

Can tai chi improve vestibulopathic postural control. Vestibulopathy is a diseases that affects the motor skills such as ocular, sensory, postural or autonomic symptoms and can last for seconds or up to days. this disease may result from a hypofunction or from pathological excitation of various peripheral or central vestibular structures. A randomized study was conducted that showed that Tai chi had a positive result for Vestibulopathy, it is also recommended to use Tai Chi is sage and balance disorders. The results were concluded by having 24 studies, where 8 supported that tai chi alone can reduce the risk. Tai chi showed improvements in self-efficacy and changed exercise adherence.
Now we know that tai chi increases mental health, in this experiment we also find that the symptoms of mental health also decrease after tai chi training. If mental health decreases, the disorders such as anxiety, stress, bipolar and many more mental illness occur. Amongst the mental disorders physical disorders occur as well, such as Chronic diseases which includes heart disease, diabetes cancer and arthritis.

Tai chi has also been proven to improve the quality of life of chronic heart failure patients. Participants were asked to answer a mental health questionnaire before and after they did tai chi exercise. The results showed that mental health of the heart-failure patients increased significantly and also every physical health was increases significantly by 3 months.

Wang, Y. Taylor, L. Pearl, M. Chang, L. (2004).Effects of Tai Chi exercise on physical and mental health of college students. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 32(3). doi: 10.1142/S0192415X04002107

Wayne, P. Krebs, D. Wolf, S. Gill-Body, K. Scarborough, D. McGibbon, C. Kaptchuk, T. Parker, S. (2004). Can Tai Chi improve vestibulopathic postural control. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 85(1),142-152. doi: 10.1016/S0003-9993(03)00652-X
Healthy Worksite.(2012). Mental Health and Chronic Diseases. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nationalhealthyworksite/docs/Issue-Brief-No-2-Mental-Health-and-Chronic-Disease.pdf

Sun, J. Buys, N. Jayasinghe, R. (2014). Effects of community-based meditative Tai Chi programme on improving quality of life, physical and mental health in chronic heart-failure participants. Aging and Mental Health. 18(3), 289-295. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2013.875120


A study was conducted which proves that martial art practice can improve mental health, specifically the aggressive behaviour. The experiment is in 2 parts, one tests the results of sports alone and martial arts. The results show that martial arts shows a better result in regards to mental health. The conclusion of the resulted that kata, the form of the attack, and respect created a better mental health by decrease aggressive attitude, giving a calmer mind. It was also resulted that intensity increases the frustration tolerance, which concludes that intensity of the martial arts increases the mental health of a person. (Raye)

Adler, U. B. (2013). Karate and mental health: Can the practice of a martial art reduce aggressive tendencies?. New York: ETD Collection for Pace University.

Exercising the Mind can Exercise the Spirit

Fitness is a total body experience encompassing the spirit, body, and mind. If one takes good care of his/her’s physical body, it will enhance perceptions about the world. It can enhance one’s moods and thoughts. Regardless of what type of exercise it is, one can de-stress the mind by exercising the body. De-stressing leaves to productivity and a peaceful mind. Becoming more aware, more grateful, and more present in the moment, more disciplined and feeling a sense of purpose creates better balance in our lives. However it is up to us to find it. We can find it by starting to eat healthy and exercise as it paves a road in finding it. Buddha said: "All we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become." Just like the saying goes, "we are what we eat," we are what we think. The thoughts that run through our minds day in and day out have a major impact on how we perceive things in our day. Living a healthy lifestyle can lead us to think positively which can help us have well functioning mind. Making your lifestyle healthy will lead you to having a healthy mind which makes other aspects in your life better.

Shelly Greenfield: Exercising the mind, body and spirit. (n.d.). PostBulletin.com. Retrieved April 8, 2014, from http://www.postbulletin.com/sports/localsports/shelly-greenfield-exercising-the-mind-body-and-spirit/article_6866ab6f-12c9-58e8-8c49-18a742fd0079.html

Sexual Intercourse

Brody, S. (2010). The relative health benefits of different sexual activities. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 7(4), 1336-1361. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01677.x

There are many benefits and positive effects that one could obtain from various sexual activities. In a study with Swedish population, it was shown that sexual intercourse was a huge positive factor to mental health. This same study had examined that women who experience a vaginal orgasm through the movement of a penis were more satisfied with their mental health, than those women who had experience orgasms through direct clitoral manipulation. Another study with female hamsters had been done to demonstrate the positive effect towards mental health through intercourse. Penile-Vaginal intercourse lead to the increase in dopamine levels that go in the nucleus accumbens of the brain in the hampsters. A healthy brain therefore would result in a healthy mind.

Effect of Exercise


Insomnia is a sleep disorder that millions of people worldwide have to live with. Individuals with insomnia find it difficult to either fall asleep and/or stay asleep. Insomnia commonly leads to daytime sleepiness, lethargy and a general feeling of being unwell both mentally and physically.

This study was to assess the efficacy of aerobic activity with sleep hygiene education to improve sleep, mood and quality of life. There were 17 adults who were at age 55 and older who had insomnia.They are to complete a 16 week aerobic physical activity and they were to compare to a group to a non-physical activity group. At the end of the 16 week, the physical activity group had improved in sleep quality, sleep duration, sleep latency and sleep efficiency. They also saw signs of reduction of depressive symptoms, daytime sleepiness and improvement in vitality.

Reid, K. Baron, K. Lu, B. Naylor, E. Wolfe, L.(2012). Aerobic exercise improves self-reported sleep and quality of life in older adults with insomnia. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1389945710002868

This study explore the topics of exercise and sleep. They wanted to find out if there is experimental evidence for whether or not acute and chronic exercise promotes sleep. They expect that exercise will benefit sleep and body restoration or thermoregulatory functions. Exercise is a complex activity that can be beneficial to general well-being but may also stress the body. Differences in the exercise protocols studied (e.g. aerobic or anaerobic, intensity, duration) and interactions between individual characteristics (e.g. fitness, age and gender) cloud the current experimental evidence supporting a sleep-enhancing effect of exercise.Meta-analytical techniques have shown that exercise increased total sleep time and delayed REM sleep onset (10 min), increased slow-wave sleep (SWS) and reduced REM sleep (2–5 min).

Drive, H. Taylor, S. (2000). Exercise and Sleep. Sleep Medicine Reviews. 4(4), 387-402. doi:10.1053/smrv.2000.0110

There are many study on how exercise affects our mind and in this case how it affect our sleep. This study is to investigate the influence of moderate exercise or physical activity on self-reported sleep disorders among random adults. This study was a questionnaires that includes question on physical exercise and sleep disorder. They mention that sleep order is anything that have disorders in maintaining sleep, excessive daily sleepiness, and nightmare. Analyses were performed using multivariate logistic regression models with selected measures of sleep disorders as dependent variables and measures of exercise and physical activity as the independent. Within the study, there were 319 men and 403 women who completed this questionnaire. The results showed us that more women than men reported participating in a regular exercise programs. These data provide additional evidence that a program of regular exercise may be a useful therapeutic modality in the treatment of patients with sleep disorders. There are many symptoms of disturbed sleep and they are very common in the general population. up to 50% of those surveyed express some dissatisfaction with the quality of their sleep.Exercise has been suggested as an activity that may improve sleep quality. A number of studies in healthy subjects have documented that acute and long-term exercise increase slow-wave sleep and total sleep time, as well as decrease sleep latency, ie, the time period between initial attempt to fall asleep and onset of sleep. These data suggest that exercise is associated with an improvement in the perception of sleep quality.

Sherrill,D. Kotchou, K. Quan, S. (1998) Association of Physical Activity and Human Sleep Disorder. Archive of Internal Medicine. 158(17). doi: 10.1001/archinte.158.17.1894.

This study was to determine the 12-month effects of exercise increases on objective and subjective sleep quality in initially inactive older people with mild to moderate sleep complaints. They used a nonclinical sample of 66 people who are adults of 55 years or older who has mild to moderate chronic sleep complaints. They were randomly assigned to a 12 month program of moderate to intensity endurance exercise. Exercisers also reported greater 12-month improvements relative to controls in Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) sleep disturbance subscale score (p =.009), sleep diary–based minutes to fall asleep, and feeling more rested in the morning. This 12 month moderate-intensity exercise program that met current physical activity recommendations for older adults improved some objective and subjective dimensions of sleep to a modest degree.

King, A. Pruitt, L. Woo,S . Castro, C. Ahn, D. Vitiello, M. Woodward, S. Bliwise, D. (2008) Effects of Moderate-Intensity Exercise on Polysomnographic and Subjective Sleep Quality in Older Adults With Mild to Moderate Sleep Complaints. Journals of Gerontology Medical Sciences. 63(9), 997-1004.http://biomedgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/content/63/9/997.short

Stepanski, E & Wyatt, J. (2003). Use of sleep hygiene in the treatment of insomnia. Sleep Medicine Reviews. 7(3), 215-225. doi: 10.1053/smrv.2001.0246


There is major relationship between physical education and academic achievement. Studies conducted show that adolescents who participate in vigorous activity throughout a semester, performed better in academic classes than those who did not have vigorous activity in a semester. Overall findings show that moderate physical activity through physical education does not quite affect academic achievement; although vigorous activity from physical education and daily lifestyle, defiantly does for adolescent students in North America.

Castelli, D. Hillman, C. Buck, S. Erwin, H. (2007). Physical fitness and academic achievement in third- and fifth grade students. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. 29(2),239-252. http://www.scopus.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/record/display.url?eid=2-s2.0-34247116384&origin=reflist&sort=plf-f&src=s&st1=exercise+education&sid=879DE835031BED33DE2B4BB3DEF2DC9A.CnvicAmOODVwpVrjSeqQ%3a1290&sot=b&sdt=b&sl=33&s=TITLE-ABS-KEY%28exercise+education%29

Human memory definitely plays a vital role in terms of schooling and education. The process of improving memory has altered throughout the years. Previously, it has been understood that developing artificial memory systems was more important than enhancing natural memory. Although current research suggests that improving natural memory is more efficient for certain parts of the brain, especially those related to memory have more to do with body functions such as muscles than originally thought. Studies have argued that through exercise, training, and discipline of physical activity, memory can be improved. Researchers were clear that an improved memory would benefit in many aspects of life including education. An example would be learning a list of historic dates. Some people believe that through a better memory they would be able to obtain more money in there life. Other people believe that through a better memory, they would simply life a better life overall and make things easier. All activities promote the development of neural pathways and the more pathways the more recruitment of neural fibers according to Hebb's law hence more parts of the brain are able to be active and neurons would more readily be able to be recruited.

Collins, A. (2014). Advice for improving memory: exercising, strengthening and cultivating natural memory, 1860-1910. Journal of the History of the Behavioural Sciences. 50(1),37-57. http://www.scopus.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/record/display.url?eid=2-s2.0-84891664423&origin=resultslist&sort=plf-f&src=s&st1=exercise+education&sid=879DE835031BED33DE2B4BB3DEF2DC9A.CnvicAmOODVwpVrjSeqQ%3a1290&sot=b&sdt=b&sl=33&s=TITLE-ABS-KEY%28exercise+education%29&relpos=0&relpos=0&citeCnt=0&searchTerm=TITLE-ABS-KEY%28exercise+education%29#

Exercise can Make you Smarter

Exercising causes brain nerve cells to multiply when it works at optimum capacity. This protects them from damage since their interconnections are strengthened as they multiply and as one exercises.Nerve cells release proteins know as neurotrophic factors during exercise. This brain factor triggers various chemicals that enhance neural health. This directly benefits cognitive functions which can enhance learning. Moreover, exercise provides protective effects to your brain through:

· Decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases
· The production and growth of nerve-protecting compounds
· Greater blood flow to one’s brain
· Enhanced development and survival of neurons

Research has shown that exercise boosts mitochondria’ the organelles that produce energy within every cell. This suggests that one’s brain may work faster and efficiently.

A new study found that engaging in a physical exercise regimen helps healthy aging adults improves their memory, brain health and physical fitness. This new study came from the University of Texas at Dallas. Moreover, they have proven that staying mentally sharp for adults over the age of 50 can outrank physical health and social security. Researchers say "this research shows the tremendous benefit of aerobic exercise on a person's memory and demonstrates that aerobic exercise can reduce both the biological and cognitive consequences of aging." Science has shown that aging decreases mental efficiency and memory decline is the number one cognitive complaint of older adults. Sandra Bond Chapman PhD., Founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth says "Science has shown that aging decreases mental efficiency and memory decline is the number one cognitive complaint of older adults." However she says "This research shows the tremendous benefit of aerobic exercise on a person's memory and demonstrates that aerobic exercise can reduce both the biological and cognitive consequences of aging." Adults from the ages of 57-75 were chosen at random to do physical training for the study. For an hour, this group was forced to engage in supervised exercise on a stationary treadmill or bike. They did this for 12 weeks, three times a week. Cardiovascular fitness, cerebral blood flow, and cognition were assessed at three time points: in the beginning, mid-way; during the 6th week, and at the end; during the 12th week. "By measuring brain blood flow non-invasively using arterial spin labeling (ASL) MRI, we can now begin to detect brain changes much earlier than before," said Sina Aslan, Ph.D., founder and president of Advance MRI and collaborator on the study. "One key region where we saw increase in brain blood flow was the anterior cingulate, indicating higher neuronal activity and metabolic rate. The anterior cingulate has been linked to superior cognition in late life." Exercisers who improved their memory performance also showed greater increase in brain blood flow to the hippocampus, the key brain region affected by Alzheimer's disease. Chapman says using noninvasive brain imaging techniques, brain changes were identified earlier than memory improvements. These brain changes increased the flow of blood which can lead to memory improvement after time."Physical exercise may be one of the most beneficial and cost-effective therapies widely available to everyone to elevate memory performance," Chapman said. "These findings should motivate adults of all ages to start exercising aerobically."In another recent study, we have shown that complex mental training increases whole brain blood flow as well as regional brain blood flow across key brain networks," Chapman said. "The combination of physical and mental exercise may be the best health measures to improve overall cognitive brain health. We have just begun to test the upper boundaries of how we can enhance our brain's performance into late life. To think we can alter and improve the basic structure of the mature brain through aerobic exercise and complex thinking should inspire us to challenge our thinking and get moving at any age."

Nine Ways to Make Yourself Smarter. (n.d.). Mercola.com. Retrieved April 7, 2014, from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/05/17/good-brain-health-tips.aspx

Aerobic exercise improves memory, brain function, physical fitness. (n.d.). ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 7, 2014, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131112105024.htm

Thinking Skills and Memory

A study from the University of Minnesota explains that memory and thinking skills can be improved by maintaining cardio fitness. By maintaining cardio fitness one can improve your thinking and memory skill 20 years later in your life. The help of exercise can help those who want to preserve their memory and thinking skills as they get older. 3000 participants at the age of 25 were asked to engage cardiovascular fitness tests. During the treadmill test they were asked to run as long as they could possibly run for before they became completely exhausted. The average time of the treadmill for these participants was 10 minutes. After 20 years the same participants were asked to repeat the test. The experimenters found that the participants dropped at least 3 minutes for remaining on the treadmill. The participants were then tested for their cognitive abilities 5 years later. These tests measured their reaction time, memory, and executive function which describe a various amount of skill for thee thinking tasks. The co-leader of this experiment says “What we found was that the longer you could go on a treadmill test, the better your thinking skills." Interestingly the performance on the test 25 years previously can predetermine their performance on the cognitive tests. For example, participants were shown 15 words and then were questioned to recall those specific words 10 minutes later, for the memory test. For each additional minute a participants in the age of 20 continued on the treadmill they recalled an average of approximately 0.12 more words correctly 25 years later on the test. Experimenters and researchers came to the conclusion that “The important public health message is heart health is good for brain health even as a young adult.”

Dr. Max Gomez: Improving Memory With Cardio. (n.d.). CBS New York. Retrieved April 8, 2014, from http://newyork.cbslocal.com/video/10012016-dr-max-gomez-improving-memory-with-cardio/

Dr. Max Gomez: Regular Exercise Could Prevent Memory Loss. (n.d.). CBSLocal. Retrieved April 1, 2014, from http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2014/04/02/dr-max-gomez-regular-exercise-could-prevent-memory-loss/
Study reveals cardio exercise in 20s helps promote brain activity later in life. (n.d.). Examiner.com. Retrieved April 7, 2014, from http://www.examiner.com/article/study-reveals-cardio-exercise-20s-helps-promote-brain-activity-later-life


New addition* Research has shown exercise to be a beneficial modality for the treatment of depression, indicating that exercise performed 3 times per week is sufficient to significantly lower depression in study participants (Amesi, 2000; Crews, Lochbaum and Landers,1998 )

A major depressive episode is categorized by a depressed mood and loss of pleasure in all or most activities and coupled with the presence of other symptoms for at least a 2 week period, plus presence of the 5 of the following features, loss of appetite, weight loss, weight gain, sleep disturbances, psychomotor agitation or retardation, decrease in energy, sense of worthlessness, guilt, difficulty in concentration, and or thoughts of suicide.

Since exercise has been shown promote proper sleep patterns, boost self-esteem, increase energy and focus, and aid in healthy changes in appetite it is not hard to see why exercise would be a useful tool in dealing with depression and mood disorders. But how does it compare to other interventions? A study by Martinsen and Medhaus (1989) looked at 43 patients 1-2 years post hospitalization for major depression. Participants were randomly assigned to a training treatment consisting of 6-9 weeks of aerobic training or the 2nd group which attended therapy. Post discharge patients were asked to rate and evaluate therapeutic modalities they received at the hospital and post. At the hospital modalities included medication, community meetings, contact with other patients,group psychotherapy and contact with staff. Of all the interventions participants rated physical exercise as the most helpful in their comprehensive treatment program.

In the case of 36 year old Cheryl Allred, a female diagnosed with clinical depression exercise became a way for her to feel empowered enough to be involved in coping with the disease. Most days she so overwhelmed by problems and struggled to think through her concerns, she became overwhelmed easily and felt hopeless. However she says "I've been able to manage it pretty well with just exercising.” For Cheryl exercise was a treatment option that allowed her to take back some self-efficacy. Exercise goes far beyond the gym. There is a well established relationship between mental health and exercise. Researchers at Duke University stated that at least 30 minutes of brisk exercising 3 times a week is just as effective as drug therapy in relieving depression and other symptoms one may poses. Increased amount of exercise decrease the chances of mental illnesses such as these to return.


Peter R.E Crocker (Eds.).(2011). Sport and Exercise Psychology. Toronto, ON: Pearson Prentice Hall

Annesi, J.J. (2000). Effects of minimal exercise and cognitive behaviour modification on adherence. Emotion change,self image, and physical change in obese women. Perceptual and Motor skills, 91,322-336

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4thed). Washington,D.C: American Psychiatric Association

Martinsen,E.W., & Medhus,A. (1989).Adherence to exercise and patient' evaluation of physical exercise in a comprehensive treatment programme for depression. Nordisk-Psykiatrisk-Tidsskrift, 43,411-415

Crews,D.J.,M.R.,& Landers,D.M. (1998). The effect of exercise on clinical depression and depression resulting from mental illness:a meta-analysis. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology,20,339-357

Hopker,Stephen W,& Lawlor,Debbie A. (2001). The effectiveness of exercise as an intervention in the management of depression:systematic review and meta-regression analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ, 322(7289), 763

Depressed? Exercise may help, experts say. (n.d.). DeseretNews.com. Retrieved April 8, 2014, from http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865600448/Depressed-Exercise-may-help-experts-say.html
Is exercise one of the missing links to mental wellness?. (2014, April 3). Philly.com. Retrieved April 8, 2014, from http://articles.philly.com/2014-04-03/entertainment/48805621_1_health-disparities-holocaust-survivors-health-alliance

Self perception and self esteem

Self-concept and self-esteem are often cited as key indicators of psychological well being, not only for research and academic purposes but also socially when we refer to an individuals who are mentally strong or stable this includes a positive perception of themselves. Self-concept and self-esteem, though similar are not exactly the same. Self-concept is the multitude of attributes and roles through which individuals evaluate themselves to establish self esteem judgements in other words a person may have a multitude of self concepts varying for different roles and dimensions in life whereas self-esteem is a personal evaluation of ones own worthiness or a self evaluative construct reflecting how positively or negative one feels about oneself. Research continues to demonstrate that following a regular exercise regime results in improved self concept and esteem. Obviously body appearance would be the component of the physical self most linked to self-esteem here since improved fitness is linked to improved body satisfaction for several reasons. Since self-concept is a multidimensional construct different aspects of this will be affected differently for example the physical will be very directly affected whereas the social dimension may or may not be influenced depending on the type of exercise the individual engages in. I would argue however that benefit, whether it be just to the physical or be it to the physical, social, emotional and academic dimensions is still positive as improvements to any one of these categories contributes to an overall improved self-concept. This may also be related to improved self-efficacy since setting a goal and proving to yourself that you can accomplish it may improve your overall belief in your ability to accomplish your goals, provided of course that the targets set are reasonable, attainable, measurable in other words an appropriate challenge considering the ability level of the individual. According to Kathleen Martin Ginis professor at McMaster University “doing virtually any type of exercise, on a regular basis, can help people feel better about their bodies. With such a large segment of the population dissatisfied with their physiques, it's encouraging to know that even short, frequent bouts of lower intensity exercise can improve body image."


Peter R.E Crocker (Eds.).(2011). Sport and Exercise Psychology. Toronto, ON: Pearson Prentice Hall
Even modest exercise boosts self image. 2009 10 08. retrieved Mar 27 2014.http://www.livescience.com/9745-modest-exercise-boosts-image.html

Effects on the Brain

Levels of neurotransmitters

Erickson, K. Voss, M. Prakash, R. Basak, C .(2010). Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory. Proceedings of the national academy of sciences of the United States of America. 108(7),3017-3022. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1015950108

Based on this research article, an experiment conducted to 120 adults showed that exercise helps increase hippocampal volume. The data collected from this research article resonated with the correlation of memory and hippocampal volume. Discussion of the study relates aerobic exercise to the increase of memory capacity. In addition, aerobic exercise decreases the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease, which affects memory due to shrinkage of brain volume, specifically the hippocampus area. Overall, exercising does help improve both mental and physical health.

An exercise also provides positive, protective, effects in brain health. For example, increased blood flow and enhanced development of neurons prevent the possibility for stroke and memory degradation. In a study published in Neuroscience (2010) shows that monkeys who performed exercises have the ability to learn tasks more quickly than non-exercising monkeys.

Resources for Science Learning. (2004) Renew-Exercise. Retrieved from http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/exercise.html.

In this article, the brain is examined as an organ that continuously develops through everyday interaction of any individual’s actions and perception. Thus, mind and body connection plays a primarily role in such stress management and healing without undergoing any surgery, made possible through a so-called “neuromuscular junction” involving mind and body. The brains produces chemicals and have control mechanics, - neurons, which send signals all throughout the body via remaining neurons (including the tiniest/smallest ones).

He, C. Sumpter, R. Levine, B. (2012). Exercise induces autophagy in peripheral tissues and in the brain. Lands Bioscience. 8(10), 1548-1551. doi: 10.4161/auto.21327

Kempermann, G. Fabel, K. Enhninger D. Babu, H. (2010).Why and how physical activity promotes experience-induced brain plasticity. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 4(189). doi: 10.3389/fnins.2010.00189

Video on neurotransmitters

Current status of Research

Mental illness is a very severe and noted illness in the 21st century. The current research has shown that even simple exercises can be beneficial to your mental health. We know in science that physical activity and exercise can be a treatment to depression, can improve confidence, improve one's social life, reduces the symptoms of anxiety and improves moods. Mental health and exercise can also reduce stress levels. It is very important to improve mental health by surrounding yourself with positive relationships. There are many psychologists that take this approach to determine which exercise is the most beneficial with the most advantage. Psychologist have been determining causes for mental illness ever since 1843, and set to determine a cure for the illness. Today, researchers know the cause and the effect of mental illness and now face themselves searching for possibilities to cure illness. Due to the new technologies of the 21st century, psychologist are able to find where each mental illness are in a section of the brain and they are able to find which physical activities improve specific parts of the brain. Exercising is one of the most promising treatments for disorders such as anxiety, stress, self-esteem, confidence,and bipolar.

Taylor, C. Sallis, J. Needle, R. (1985). The relation of physical activity and exercise to mental health. Public Health Reports. 100(2),195-202. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1424736/

John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2014). The Realization of an Idea. Retrieved from http://www.jhsph.edu/departments/mental-health/_archive/about/origins.html

Summary paragraph: Conclusion

To the writers: We hope you get a better understanding of the effects physical activity in relation to mental health. As you may come to realize from our research and sources there there isn’t a negative outcome to physical activity for mental health, we learn that it always beneficial outcome in regards to mental health. Exercising is so important for the people now days, and the main reason why people do get mental illness is because they lack physical activity. Although mental health is a relatively new problem, the research is going to a fast success rate to find more solutions. Mental health is found relatively new, but it has been a sickness for quite some time now. Encourage anyone who seems to be stressed, mentally sick, anxiety, low self-esteem, to exercise. Thank you very much and we hope that our research is beneficial for your paper.

Anthony, Dhilon, Harry, Elron, Elizabeth, Patricia

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