What is Mental Health

1 in 5 Australian’s will experience a mental health condition at same stage of their life

Mental health encompasses a wide array of mood related disorders which effects the way a person thinks, acts and reacts.  People with mental health concerns may struggle to engage in regular work, social and physical activities leading to social isolation and feelings of loneliness.

Some of the more common forms of mental health disorders we treat at Activate Heath include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety and Stress
  • Substance misuse and Addiction
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar
  • Eating Disorders
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • PTSD disorders

How can exercise help?

Within some clinical populations Exercise has been found to be just as beneficial as pharmacological interventions


While the specific benefits for each condition may vary – the overarching benefits remain the same:

  • Improved cardiorespiratory fitness.
  • Weight management.
  • Improved sleep quality.
  • Improved endurance, energy and stamina.
  • Stress relief and management.
  • Improved mental alertness.

For more specific benefits for the listed condition above – please see information below. 

Exercise for Depression

Exercise is an effective mechanism for increasing mood and positivity and has therefore become a key treatment for people experience mild to sevear depression.

Specifically for Depression Exercise Physiologists have the ability to:

  • Increase energy and motivation through exercise.
  • Reduce risk of comorbid illness.
  • Help regulate weight.
  • Assist with goal setting and task management.

Exercise for Anxiety, Stress and PTSD

Stress, anxiety and fear are all normal emotions every person experiences. When felt in excess or in leu of an posing danger however, a person should seek treatment. Exercise can help to reduce the sympathetic nervous system response (fight or flight), decreasing feelings of stress and fear, and increasing feelings of calm.

Specifically for Anxiety, Stress and PTSD, Exercise Physiologist can help via:

  • Breathing exercises to help calm the fight or flight system.
  • Cardiovascular exercise to help reduce panic attack threshold.
  • Mobility and stretching exercise to help reduce feelings of stiffness.

Substance misuse and Addiction

While the evidence of exercise during withdrawal periods is currently mixed  – strong evidence has found that exercise can act as an effective stand in activity or stimulus to help distract from addictive substances during recovery and throughout remission periods.

Exercise causes dopamine and serotonin production which triggers the reward pathways in the brain – mimicking the same response that people feel when taking addictive substances.

Specifically for Substance misuse and Addiction Exercise has been found to: 

  • Reduce craving sensations.
  • Replace triggers for addictive behaviours.
  • Help improve mental clarity and functioning.
  • Improve sleep quaity and reduce symptoms of insomnia.
  • Boost feelings of self esteem and self control.

Exercise for Schizophrenia

Believed to affect approximately 1% of the population, schizophrenia is a mental health disorder that creates a range of varying symptoms effecting a person ability to function psychically, mentally and socially.

People with schitzophrenia have a higher risk of developing comorbid health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and many more, making exercise a very improtant aspect of treatment and management!

Exercise has been found to help people with Schizophrenia via: 

  • Reducing the effect of antipsychotic medications such as compex weight gain.
  • Reducing negative effects of schizophrenia.
  • Improving cognitive symptoms to help with organisation, planning and engagement with health and wellbeing.

Exercise for Bipolar

A condition characterised by severe mood swings between states of depression (chronic periods of low mood and motivation) and mania (elation and hyper motivation).

Exercise Physiology can help people with Bipolar via:

  • High intensity exercise to encourage the release of “happy hormones”.
  • Improvement in cognition and focus without the additional symptoms of mania.
  • Management of weight and appetite typically induced through antipsychotic medication.
  • Adaption of activities to help manage either depressive or manic episodes.

Exercise for Eating Disorders

Eating disorder is a term that encompasses a number of conditions including:

  • Anorexia Nervosa.
  • Bulimia Nervosa.
  • Binge Eating Disorder.
  • Avoidant – Restrictive Food Intake Disorder.
  • Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders.

Traditional treatment of eating disorders consisted of bed rest and restricted exercise, especially during refeeding stages.  Eating disorders however are complex and multifaceted conditions which require a group treatment approach, including Exercise Physiology support. Exercise can help to reduce harmful movement patterns and instill healthy movement habits. For people with limited and restricted movement habits, gentle exercise introduction may also help to decrease harmful comorbid conditions and promote helpful lifestyle habits.

Chronic Fatigue

Chronic Fatigue is a multi-faceted condition which can have varying causations and effects on the body. While presentations are often varied exercise therapy and treatment can have significant effects on improving energy levels and returning a person back to activities of daily living through the use of:

  • Activity Pacing Strategies.
  • Gradual introduction of activities to increase enbdurance and tolerance.
  • Education and identification of triguring activities.
  • Introduction of management strategies i.e mindfulness, relaxation ect.

How can Activate Health help you?


Here at Activate Health we are passionate about providing top quality Exercise Physiology to ensure all our clients receive the care and outcomes they deserve. Within our company we have a variety of professionals with a special interest and high level of knowledge for treating and managing mental health conditions – meaning you will be in the best of hands!

Our Exercise Physiologist are able to create programs that are adapted to accommodate each individuals circumstances and preferences. We strive to minimise the barriers to exercise and make our sessions as engaging and enjoyable as possible.

Talk to you Doctor today to request a Chronic Care Plan referral for access to bulk billed consultations. We also take private bookings, private health, NDIS, My aged care and DVA cliental; making our services affordable and accessible to all cliental.

For further queries or to book an initial assessment please check out our contact page for best phone, email or social media contacts.