Exercise and mental health
Physical activity can have a positive effect on aspects of mental health and psychological well-being, such as depression, mood and cognitive function. In this course we will examine the effects that exercise can have on different aspects of our mental health. We will use the case study of Malcolm.
We will begin by defining what is meant by the term ‘mental health’. Corbin et al. (2008, p.5) define mental health and wellness as the absence of mental illness, such as depression, and the ability to cope with daily challenges in a positive, optimistic and constructive manner. Using this definition there are potentially two ways in which exercise can benefit mental health. First, exercise can prevent or reduce the extent of mental illnesses such as depression. Second, exercise can enhance mood and reduce stress levels, thus allowing us to tackle daily challenges in a more positive, optimistic and constructive way.
This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course.