Physical health as a treatment for mental health

Physical health and mental health can go hand in hand: If you have a chronic illness, you may be more at risk of developing a mental health problem, such as anxiety or depression.

Regular exercise, while aiding overall fitness levels, may also help to relieve stress, anxiety and depression, and improve your wellbeing. To help alleviate the symptoms of depression, some GPs are prescribing exercise alongside other treatment.


Get fit – be a well being

Research suggests that even small amounts of exercise can make a difference. No matter your fitness level, or age, exercise can be a powerful tool for your wellbeing. Simply increase your activity to suit your lifestyle.

Both aerobic and resistance exercise can be effective:

  • Aerobic exercise – this gets your major muscle groups moving and your heart and breathing rate up. It can be done over a sustained period, e.g. walking, swimming and cycling are all forms of aerobic exercise.
  • Resistance exercise – this strengthens muscles by making them work against a force like using weights or lifting your body weight, e.g. weight lifting, lunges and squats are all forms of resistance exercise.


Moderate levels of exercise provide the best results for most people.

A moderate level of exercise is:

  • Breathing heavier than normal, but not out of breath.
  • Your body feels warm, but not sweaty.

Exercise can be a fairly low-risk option featuring minimal side effects, with potential benefits for both your physical and mental health.


If you’re struggling with your mental health or worried about someone you know, please give us a call anytime on 1300 659 467 to talk to a member of our Suicide Call Back Service counselling team.

If it is an emergency, dial 000.