Exercise and Mental Health – A Therapist’s Guide

Peter Forster Bipolar Treatment, Self Care, Treatments of Depression Leave a Comment

This is a great resource from Psychology Tools, with a huge amount of information about the use of exercise in treatment of mental illness, and a long bibliography of articles describing evidence related to the use of exercise, impact of physical exercise on mental health, ways of encouraging clients to exercise, and biological, psychological and social mechanisms by which exercise influences mental health.

Starting from a simple definition, followed by a listing of conditions that can be helped by exercise, and a helpful explanation of benefits of exercise, the article sets out the information in clear, jargon-free ways that make it easy to clarify the information for any user.  But it also includes a wealth of studies and readings that back up the simplified material with scientific evidence.

A later section looks at the benefits of using physical exercise as part of a mental health treatment plan, including features such as cost, health benefits, social benefits, and independent use by clients without supervision.  There is also a review of some innovative ways of incorporating exercise into treatment plans for such conditions as PTSD and binge eating disorder.

Finally, a lengthy section discusses ways to encourage clients to increase their physical exercise and ways to overcome barriers to exercise that they may encounter.  This document deserves to be on every therapist’s desk!

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