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The Connection Between Mental Health and Regular Exercise: A Gen Z’s Guide to Wellness

Hey there, fellow Gen Z’ers! Sophie here, your resident 24-year-old advice guru, fitness enthusiast (read: someone who occasionally does a push-up), and professional procrastinator. Today, I want to talk about something that’s dear to my heart – the link between mental health and regular exercise.

Now, before you roll your eyes and think this is another one of those ‘exercise solves everything’ articles, let me assure you it’s not. I’m not about to tell you that running a marathon will cure your anxiety or doing yoga can magically erase depression. But what I am going to do is share some interesting facts and personal anecdotes about how regular exercise can play a significant role in managing mental health issues.

Mental Health & Us

As Gen Z’ers, we face our fair share of stressors – from climate change anxiety (yes, it’s a real thing) to social media pressures. Not to mention navigating the job market during a pandemic (can anyone say ‘unprecedented times’ one more time?). It’s no surprise that many of us are dealing with mental health challenges.

The Science Bit

Okay, let’s get nerdy for a second. Numerous studies have shown that regular physical activity can help reduce symptoms associated with mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety. Exercise promotes changes in the brain such as neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calmness and well-being.

It also releases endorphins—powerful chemicals in your brain that energise your spirits and make you feel good. Finally, exercise can also serve as a distraction from negative thoughts by shifting focus towards achieving physical goals.

My Journey

I’ve always been a bit of an anxious person. In my early teens, I was the girl who would worry about everything from climate change to whether or not my crush liked me back (spoiler alert: he didn’t). As I got older, my anxiety didn’t magically disappear; it just changed shape and form.

A few years ago, I decided to give regular exercise a shot as a way to manage my mental health. And you know what? It worked. Not in the ‘I’m suddenly free of all worries’ kind of way, but in a ‘I feel more capable of handling whatever comes my way’ kind of way.

Exercise: The How-To’s

So how do you incorporate regular exercise into your routine? Here are some tips that have helped me:

  1. Find something you enjoy: Exercise shouldn’t be a chore. Whether it’s dancing around your room to BTS, going for a run in the park, or trying out kickboxing, find something that makes you feel good.
  2. Start small: You don’t need to start training for a marathon right away. Even 10 minutes of physical activity can make a difference.
  3. Create a routine: Consistency is key when it comes to exercise. Try to set aside specific times for physical activity each week.

The Bottom Line

Mental health is complex and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. While regular exercise can help manage symptoms and improve mood, it’s not a cure-all and should ideally be part of an overall mental health management plan that may include therapy, medication or other treatments recommended by healthcare professionals.

If you’re struggling with mental health issues, remember, it’s okay to ask for help. Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or professional. And hey, maybe try a little exercise while you’re at it. I mean, who knows? You might end up like me: still anxious but now with the ability to do a push-up.

Until next time,



Sophie is a vibrant and multifaceted individual who beautifully intertwines her diverse heritage, with her contemporary interests and beliefs. A passionate devotee of weight training, Sophie finds strength and empowerment in her physical regimen, which aligns seamlessly with her deeply spiritual nature. This spiritual depth is a cornerstone of her character, informing her perspectives and enriching her approach to life's challenges and joys.

In her professional life, Sophie has carved out a niche as a junior author for the thought-provoking blog, "Illusions of Wisdom." Here, she expertly delves into issues that resonate with Generation Z, offering insightful, articulate, and nuanced perspectives. Her writing not only reflects the pulse of her generation but also echoes the wisdom and sensitivity of someone deeply connected to their cultural roots and personal passions. Whether discussing mental health, environmental concerns, or the evolving landscape of digital interactions, Sophie's voice is both a guiding light and a mirror for her peers.

Her work on "Illusions of Wisdom" is characterised by a rare blend of authenticity and analytical acumen, making her a beloved figure among her readers. As Sophie continues to explore and express her multifaceted identity through her writing, she remains an inspiration to many, embodying the spirit of a generation that values both strength and introspection.

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