The Exercise Connection

Working Out Gets Your Mind in Shape

Everyone knows that exercise has physical benefits. But did you know it can also boost mood, improve sleep, and help you deal with depression, anxiety, and stress?

When you exercise, your body releases brain chemicals, such as dopamine and endorphins, that make you feel happy. At the same time, your brain gets rid of hormones that make you feel depressed, stressed, or anxious.

That makes exercise a prescription for mental wellness that anyone can do, anytime and anywhere!


  1. Think of it as a gift to yourself. Protect your workout time, which allows you to clear your mind and let go of the day’s stresses—all while improving your physical health.
  2. Choose an activity you enjoy. Do whatever gets you moving, whether that’s walking, jogging, going to a gym, following workout videos, doing yardwork or playing tag with your kids.
  3. Pick a buddy. Exercise is a great way to spend time with friends. But even if you don’t work out together, friends can hold each other accountable and encourage one another to persevere.
  4. Be realistic. As little as 10 to 15 minutes of physical activity a day has an impact. Get started with what you can sustain until you form a habit.
  5. Work out up to 30 minutes per day, five days a week. Research shows a stronger endorphin release with continued exercise, rather than short bursts of activity.


A few sessions with a counselor can help you develop strategies—creating an exercise plan, for example—to help you deal with life’s challenges.

  • MDLIVE: Talk to a therapist from the privacy of your own home. Get started at, download the app on your smartphone, or call 1 (888) 725-3097.
  • An in-network provider: Meet in person, by phone or online (if offered by the provider). Search for an in-network counselor.
  • Get self-care tips from mental health experts, benefit information and other resources at
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