LifestyleWellness Exercise and Mental Well-Being

mental well-being

Exercise has the most positive impact on our mental well-being

Nowadays, having a mental (mood) disorder is very prominent, regardless of age and gender. If such things are experienced, the most common approach is to get some pills prescribed, regular visits to a specialist, or even both in a combination. Is this necessarily a bad thing to do? It all comes down to the individual and it is very subjective, however, most individuals are simply not aware of a cheaper and healthier method that can be implemented as a remedy.

The majority of people are aware of the positive impact that exercise can have on our appearance and overall physical well-being. Nevertheless, when it comes to psychological well-being and mood enhancement, exercise is often neglected, even though it can be just as effective as anti-depressant pills (Hearing et al.,2016).

Exercise and mental well-being

Before we start, it is essential to explain what a neurotransmitter is.

A neurotransmitter is a chemical released by neurons to transmit an electrical signal chemically between one or more neurons, in order to pass a signal from and to the Central Nervous System (CNS).

It is safe to say that the majority of people are aware of dopamine’s existence. As dopamine is an organic chemical that functions as a neurotransmitter, it is essential for humans that sufficient levels are being produced regularly, in order to ensure adequate cognitive functioning.
Now how is exercising related to such thing?


It has been long established that exercise is the most efficient method one can use for the release of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine (Meeusen and De Meirleir, 1995). Therefore, frequent participation in exercise, regardless of its type will most likely result in sufficient release of neurotransmitters, hence the long-term benefits will include enhanced mood and overall brain functioning. Apart from our mood as we progress with age, neurotransmitters are of greater importance. An insufficient amount of neurotransmitter secreting neurons can be harmful to one. Such scenarios are associated with diseases such as Degenerative Parkinson’s Disease.

Apart from mood enhancement, regular participation in exercise also results in additional benefits, such as more regulated eating and sleeping patterns, as well as enhanced focus.


Nutrition and mood enhancement


Nutrition can have quite an impact on one’s mood. For instance, at least once in our lives, we have all experienced the “hangry” phenomenon, which basically is us being rather aggressive due to its correlation with hunger. Apart from food itself having an effect on our mood, nutrient deficiency could also have the same effect. Without going in too deep into the scientific areas, let’s briefly look at some nutrients that can possibly be affecting our mood states.


According to Sublette et al., (2011) Omega 3 has been shown to be effective against depression and overcoming such issues.


Zinc is fundamental when it comes to biochemical processes relating to the growth and function of the brain. Therefore, Zinc deficiencies can disrupt brain functions with research suggesting so from all the way back in the early 60s (Prasad et al., 1963). As hypothesized by Sawada and Yokoi (2010), Zinc supplementation can lead to significantly decreased levels of depression and anger, following a 10-week intervention, hence suggesting a potential remedy for such condition.



Evidently, apart from us developing bigger biceps or improving endurance, exercising can be significantly beneficial for psychological and mental well-being.

As recommended by NHS (2019), 150 min/week of moderate-intensity exercising is a sufficient amount of exercising. However, this can be very subjective and dependant on goals. Staying as active as possible is vital for healthy aging and overall well-being. Along with that, being cautious of your diet is also worth paying attention to.


Hearing, Chang, Szuhany, Nierenberg and Sylvia (2016). Physical Exercise for Treatment of Mood Disorders: A Critical Review. [online] Available at: [Accessed 31 Dec. 2019].

Meeusen, R. and De Meirleir, K. (1995). xercise and Brain Neurotransmission. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Jan. 2020].

Petty, Sharma and Madaan (2006). Exercise For Mental Health. [online] Available at: [Accessed 31 Dec. 2019].
Sublette, M., Ellis, S., Geant, A. and Mann, J. (2011). Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) in Clinical Trials in Depression. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 72(12), pp.1577-1584.
Sawada, T. and Yokoi, K. (2010). Effect of zinc supplementation on mood states in young women: a pilot study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 64(3), pp.331-333.
Prasad, A., Halsted, J. and Nadimi, M. (1963). Syndrome of iron deficiency anemia, hepatosplenomegaly, hypogonadism, dwarfism and geophagia. The American Journal of Medicine, 31(4), pp.532-546.
NHS (2019). Exercise. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Dec. 2019].

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