Natural Solutions for Mental Health - Exercise is Medicine

Updated: Oct 21

By: Logan Cohen, Online Life Coach & Professional Therapist - Balanced Man Plan Online Life Coaching for Men


American Culture seems to be OBSESSED with chiseled abs and toned muscles that REQUIRE a relatively low BMI (Body Mass Index that measures percentage of body fat), but what about how you feel about yourself on the INSIDE? Exercise is ALSO one of several natural solutions for mental health discussed by the Balanced Man Plan.

Exercise is the least-used and perhaps one of the most effective natural solutions for mental health. Studies show that regular cardiovascular exercise is VERY effective as a natural solution for mental health - even when compared to medications like antidepressants.


You can imagine how well this information is received, since exercising is everyone's favorite thing to do! But truthfully we know that exercise improves mental health and wellness in the following ways:


Our Balanced Man Plan helps clients use exercise as one of the natural solutions for mental health because regular exercise such as a daily walk in your local park or community can lead to decreased pain, increased cognitive function, restorative sleep, and improved mood.

Natural Solutions for Mental Health - Exercise is Medicine

#1 Reason Why Exercise is a Natural Solution for Mental Health - Natural Pain Killer


Did you know there is a NATURAL pain-killer released in our Brain? When we exercise, our Brain releases a chemical called “Endorphins” - whether it is cardiovascular exercise or strength training.


Endorphins have not only been linked to relief for physical pain, but they also work similarly for emotional pain. There is a great deal of promising research that shows the relationship of Endorphins released from exercise and opioid receptors (Addiction Recovery), as well as Depression (Mental Health Care).


Exercise is one of several natural solutions for mental health utilized in the Balanced Man Plan Online Coaching for Men because Aerobic/Cardiovascular exercise has been shown to support this process by increasing those new Brain connections by 4-5 TIMES the normal rate!

Natural Solutions for Mental Health - Exercise is Medicine

#2 Reason Why Exercise is a Natural Solution for Mental Health -

Creates New Brain Cells (“Neurogenesis”)


While strength training is a lot of fun and GREAT for testosterone production (more later), Aerobic/Cardiovascular exercise has been shown to increase the rate of “neurogenesis” - the birth of new, baby brain cells by 4-5 times the normal rate. This is a HUGE discovery!


When we are learning new skills, our Brain is faced with the task of literally creating BRAND new connections between neurons (messenger cells) so new parts of the Brain can communicate effectively. This requires our Brain to create MORE brain cells - described here in it’s scientific term neurogenesis.


Aerobic/Cardiovascular exercise has been shown to support this process by increasing those new Brain connections by 4-5 TIMES the normal rate! Turns out that exercising is a REALLY smart move after all...


Exercise improves sleep by allowing our Brain to get to DEEPER states of rest. Due to improved healing & recovery, exercise is one of the available natural solutions for improved mental health.

Natural Solutions for Mental Health - Exercise is Medicine

#3 Reason Why Exercise is a Natural Solution for Mental Health -

Improves Sleep


Exercise improves sleep patterns by stimulating longer periods of “slow-wave sleep” - the deepest stage of sleep - where our Brain gets the most rest and our Body is able to physically heal itself.


It is common sense for most People that wearing our Body out during the day will help us be more tired for a night’s rest, but studies show that this goes BEYOND wearing down our energy level to be “more sleepy.”


To learn more about these studies and other ways of taking your “sleep hygiene” to the next level to get BETTER sleep as a part of natural solutions for mental health, check out this article here.



When considering natural solutions for mental health, confidence & self esteem are KEY.

Natural Solutions for Mental Health - Exercise is Medicine

#4 Reason Why Exercise is a Natural Solution for Mental Health -

Improves Self Esteem


There is a lot of focus on how regular exercise can make you LOOK.


American Culture seems to be OBSESSED with chiseled abs and toned muscles that REQUIRE a relatively low BMI (Body Mass Index that measures percentage of body fat), but what about how you feel about yourself on the INSIDE?


When we work hard to meet goals, we experience a sense of achievement that we have “done something hard,” which then increases our motivation for events through the rest of our day.


To learn more about how you can strategically use goal setting to INCREASE motivation, read this article - but in the meantime, let’s create some positive momentum with exercise goals! Learn more about motivation for these goals in this short video below:




Our Brain has developed an adaptation of rewarding itself by “feeling good” after that level of physical activity. How is that for a natural solution to mental health?

Natural Solutions for Mental Health - Exercise is Medicine

#5 Reason Why Exercise is a Natural Solution for Mental Health - Improves Mood


Exercise boosts your mood by causing an INCREASE in the release of “serotonin” - the Brain Chemical that tells us “everything will be OK.”


This is the SAME brain chemical associated with Depression & Anxiety Symptoms and when there is NOT enough of it - this is what tells our Brain, “there are not enough resources - PANIC or FREEZE!”


This only makes sense since our Body is designed to move through the day and at times - VIGOROUSLY! This vigorous movement is very likely to be more goal-directed, so our Brain has developed an adaptation of rewarding itself by “feeling good” after that level of physical activity. How is that for a natural solution to mental health?


Studies show the more we increase our level of exercise, the lower the risk of relapse rates in patients with Depression, with 10 days being sufficient to begin seeing an improvement in mood. How is THAT for one of our natural solutions to mental health offered by the Balanced Man Plan Online Life Coaching?

Natural Solutions for Mental Health - Exercise is Medicine

#6 Reason Why Exercise is a Natural Solution for Mental Health -

Improves Emotional Processing


Exercise activates the part of our Brain called the “ventral prefrontal cortex” - the part of our Brain responsible for processing emotions.


We all know that when our mental health is getting rough, one of the FIRST things we notice are our EMOTIONS!


Whether we tend to get irritable, anxiously withdraw from social situations, or struggle with ANGER OUTBURSTS - exercise helps us sort all of those feelings out so we can get back on the right track.


To learn more about how you can use the natural solutions for mental health from a FULL range of Emotional Intelligence, learn more here.


Exercise is the least-used and perhaps one of the most effective natural solutions for mental health

Regular exercise such as a daily walk in your local park or community can lead to decreased pain, increased cognitive function, restorative sleep, and improved mood - all of these things in turn improve mental health and lead to a more joyful life.


A moderate amount of exercise - daily for 30 minutes, or 5 days/week for 45 minutes will increase neurogenesis, increase serotonin by increasing tryptophan, increase norepinephrine, decrease cortisol, increase endorphins, and increases dopamine and BDNF (think of this as fertilizer for your brain).


Too much exercise however will induce muscle damage that leads to inflammation. The higher the dose of exercise, the lower the risk of relapse rates in patients with Depression, with 10 days being sufficient to begin seeing an improvement in mood.


Exercise is the least-used and perhaps one of the most effective natural solutions for mental health. Studies show that regular cardiovascular exercise is VERY effective as a natural solution for mental health - even when compared to medications like antidepressants.

I painfully discovered that more than a few of my childhood Friends passed away at a young age from preventable health conditions and decided that as a Man, Husband, Father, and Friend, I could no longer stand by as People suffered in silence and self-destructed rather than ask for help. It doesn’t have to be like that and the holistic healing methods offered by the Balanced Man Plan is designed to help People “get unstuck” and break free from old patterns that are the barriers between Self & quality of Life.

The Balanced Man Plan is a therapeutic digital experience delivered through Self-Guided Coaching Plans created by a Male Therapist with the common barriers & strengths of Men in mind. The Balanced Man Plan has the goal of introducing a natural Balance back to Life so it is sustainable for the optimal Health & Well-Being of Self and Loved Ones - and ALL from the privacy and comfort of Home. If you have enjoyed what you see so far, check out our Self Guided Coaching Plans!

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