Skip to main content

Movement and Mental Health

As the pandemic continues, the rates of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression steadily continue to climb. During times of quarantine, while working virtually, or when managing a new schedule, it is easy to forget about adding movement to your day. Sedentary activities like watching tv, video gaming and computer work are dominating our current society while mental health is on the decline. One approach to lowering bouts of anxiety and depression, improving mood, and gaining an abundance of health benefits is by adding a few minutes of physical activity to your daily routine.

You don’t have to be a personal trainer to get your recommended daily amount of exercise. By adding a lifestyle modification such as physical activity, those struggling with their mental health may control or enhance their mood. Specifically, aerobic exercises are known to reduce anxiety and depression. An aerobic exercise is any exercise that requires oxygen, therefore, breathing is most important during aerobic exercise as it allows the passage of oxygen to muscles (especially the heart). Some common aerobic exercises like swimming, cycling, dancing, walking, and gardening are characterized as “cardio”. Anything that increases the heart rate qualifies as good mood-altering movement.

Group of people working outjpg

Physical activity is responsible for improving cardiovascular health, stress relief, and for creating substantial improvements to both health and mood. The following is a list of benefits related to physical activity, health, and mood:

  • Improves sleep, memory, and mood
  • Improves cognitive health
  • Increases blood circulation to the brain
  • Improves self-esteem
  • Increases energy and stamina
  • Weight reduction
  • Cholesterol reduction

Continue reading to learn more about physical activity recommendations and examples here:

This article is written by Tramayne Richardson, Area Nutrition Agent, East Baton Rouge and Livingston Parishes. This article is referenced by LSU AgCenter, Center for Disease Control, the National Institute of Health, and Boston College Cooperative Extension Service.


Images (1)
  • Cardio Exercise: Running in place is a good way to increase your heart rate.

Add Comment


About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

Link copied to your clipboard.