Every San Diego psychiatrist will recommend exercise as part of the treatment for mental health disorders. Exercise is not only about moving your muscles and increasing aerobic capacity but it is also about improving your overall health and well-being.

There are tremendous benefits that exercise has on mental health. The following are some of the benefits of exercise on various mental health issues.


Exercise has been shown to have positive effects on depression just as powerful as an antidepressant. The good news is that you avoid all the ill side effects of such medication.

Physical movement initiates the release of many chemical compounds in the brain including endorphins which are the hormones associated with positive feelings. Exercise can also help enhance feelings of positivity and well-being from completing challenging tasks.

Exercise is also a distraction which means that you do not focus on your depression for part of the day.


Physical exercise has also been shown to alleviate anxiety in mental health patients. The way that exercise does so is by helping you relieve tension both physically and mentally, boosting energy in both spheres.

It is difficult to be anxious when you are focusing on running or on playing a fun sport like football. You will be entirely focused on the activity which will reduce the focus you place on your worries.

When you are exercising, you also release feel-good hormones that leave you feeling great and not anxious afterward.


When you are stressed, your body is generally under a lot of tension. You tend to feel the tension in your muscles but it may also be manifested as joint pain.

You may also have other physical symptoms such as stomachaches, diarrhea, and insomnia. Having these symptoms will further exacerbate the stress you feel.

Exercise is important for your mental health in this regard as it will help you relieve the tension in your muscles by working them out. It is impossible to focus on stress when you are engaged in a physical activity that is pushing your muscles to the limit.

Once you are done exercising, both your mind and body should feel less stressed.


The symptoms of ADHD include reduced concentration, lower energy levels, and poor memory. Exercise can help alleviate all of the above symptoms.

Physical activity requires concentration if you are to avoid any injury. The chemicals released in the brain during exercise should help with concentration.

Exercise will also boost your energy levels and elevate your mood all while making you fitter and stronger.

PTSD and Trauma

PTSD is one of the most debilitating mental disorders you can have. It takes a lot to get over such trauma.

Physical exercise is a key ingredient in overcoming PTSD. Trauma patients usually see themselves as stuck and physical movement is one of the best ways to get ‘unstuck’.

Exercising outdoors is especially great for trauma patients as there are major mental benefits to receiving sunshine and fresh air. Learning to interact with others and accept yourself again is one of the benefits that comes from exercising regularly which helps overcome trauma leading to better mental health.