Did you know that exercise is highly effective in improving mental health? If you want to improve your mood, reduce your stress level, and feel the benefits of fitness, get moving! And if you exercise regularly, at least several times per week, you will see even more benefits.

Studies show that consistent exercise decreases anxiety, reduces depression and increases self-esteem and improves sleep. Exercise in addition to mental health treatment can successfully lead you to recovery. So you know you want to get fit, where can you start?

Mental Health America has identified 10 tools that help you achieve wellness and fitness is one of them.  You can explore the 10 tools at  The 10 tools include many ideas and activities to help you achieve your fitness goals and promote overall wellness.  Keep in mind that you cannot do everything at once so you should look for reasonable things to start with.  Anytime you start a new exercise routine there are some things you should consider, which include:

  1. Check with your doctor, especially if you haven't been active in awhile.  You will also want to build up slowly so the first week, you might try walking on two days for 15 minutes each.  You can gradually increase the number of days and minutes per session over a few weeks.   

  2. Don't forget to warm your body up which gives your muscles and joints a chance to loosen, preventing injuries.  5-10 minutes is usually enough.

  3. Get going but don't forget moderation.  Don't push yourself to the point of pain, dizziness or shortness of breath.

  4. Always cool down by moving slowly for 5-10 minutes which helps bring your heart rate and body temperature back down to normal.

  5. Stretching will help relax the muscles you have just worked.  Check out some model stretches .

  6. Always drink water- before, during and after exercise.  If you wait until you're thirsty, you're already getting dehydrated.

If you need help getting and staying motivated, find a friend to join the fun.  Pairing up with others often helps us all achieve success.  For more tips, motivation, and general guidelines, visit or The Centers for Disease Control offers more guidelines.  Wishing you much success as you start your journey or continue your journey to achieve fitness.


Other Resources
President's Council on Fitness & Nutrition
Fitness Magazine
Free Calorie Counter, Diet & Exercise Journal
American Diabetes Association