Physical activity is known to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, lower blood pressure, lower cholesteral, and strengthen muscles. Physical activity also has the ability to enhance your mental well-being, which is why it is so critical to get up and moving 150-300 minutes per week.
There has been an increased need for mental health services since the start of the COVID-19, as many communities have been greatly impacted by the virus. While benefit eligible employees at UTK have access to the Employee Assistance Program which includes a 24 hour hotline [(855-Here4TN) (855-437-3486)] to connect with an abundance of services, we want to highlight the importance of regular physical activity to promote mental wellbeing.
Physical activity has been shown to improve depression, anxiety, and stress, while building resilience, promoting sleep, and improving self-esteem. "Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. It relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins" (Robinson et al., 2019)
When individuals engage in physical activity the brain releases a series of hormones including dopamine, norepiniphrine, and serotonin -all of which improve your ability to focus and think clearly. This release of hormones can promote concentration and your ability to complete tasks more efficiently.
You do not have to exercise for hours every day to reap the numerous benefits of physical activity. Even a little amount of physical activity is better than nothing at all. If you do not have 30-60 minutes a day for structured physical activity, try incorporating smaller 5-10 minute blocks during your day. The more you move your body, the easier it will become and you can build to longer amounts at a time. The more you keep at it, you'll start to feel the benefits of physical activity paying off.