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Effects of Exercise on Mental Health 

Effects of Exercise on Mental Health
Chapter:
Effects of Exercise on Mental Health
Author(s):

Stephen Olex

, and Krista Olex

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190690557.003.0003
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date: 22 September 2020

While the beneficial effects of exercise on the body are well established, there is now substantial evidence that physical activity has significant benefits on brain function and mental health as well. Physical activity including aerobic exercise, resistance exercise, yoga, and Tai Chi can influence mental health through numerous mechanisms on multiple levels, ranging from the microscopic to the level of human connection. A large body of clinical data suggests that exercise has beneficial effects on mood and cognition. While the evidence is strongest for the effects of aerobic exercise on cognitive dysfunction and depression, there is promising data in the use of aerobic exercise in other populations with mental illness as well as for the use of the other types of movement for mental health. Clinicians should be aware of physical activity as a powerful tool in their clinical toolbox with the potential for tremendous benefit on mind and body.

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