With winter now gone in Australia, spring is in the air and there are only a few weeks to Christmas and the summer holidays. In the eastern states, we have daylight saving time, so at the end of every working day, we still have a few hours of sunlight left. It’s a great time to shake off the winter blues and to get outdoors. The sun is not too hot, we have fine pleasant days and the smell of jasmine is in the air.

It has become absolutely crystal clear to me working with people just how important exercise is in maintaining our mental health. When we think of exercise, we immediately think of its physical benefits, like losing weight, getting fit, toning muscles and the like. But I strongly endorse exercise as an essential part of staying mentally fit and well. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but it does have to be consistent.

Moderate level exercise re-charges our batteries, reduces the effects of stress on our bodies and minds, and even elevates our mood by releasing endorphins, the feel-good hormones. Most people who exercise are able to think more clearly, thus better able to keep problems in a more realistic perspective, enjoy better sleep, and have more energy to get through each day. I am now of the belief that no-one really beats depression without some degree of exercise as a component of their regimen. But you don’t have to be depressed to gain the benefits. Looking after your mental health is just as important as looking after your physical health, so get into some exercise and you’ll not only get fitter, you’ll feel better too.