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Dr. Kissen Answers Q&A on how Exercise is Connected to Mental Health

You hear it from everyone—your parents, your friends, your doctors, and even magazines—exercise is the answer to your problems. Need to lose weight? Exercise. Feeling sluggish? Exercise. Feeling anxious or depressed? You guessed it. Exercise.

Dr. Kissen gets into the details of how and why exercise is a great idea if you are struggling with your mental health below.


It’s always the top of the list for mental health advice, but how much exercise is actually helpful?

Light On Anxiety Answer:

Exercise is super helpful for mental health and in no way just folklore. When you are engaged in exercise you are moving your body, you are releasing energy and endorphins and growing stronger. These are all good things. And luckily for you, exercise in no way needs to be a two hour intensive, butt-kicking boot camp. Exercise simply means not being sedentary. It can be a leisurely walk around the block for ten minutes. Every step forward counts!


It seems like the numbers for how much exercise you need (30 mins a day, etc) to boost your mood varies a lot — is there a specific amount that you think is the most helpful and why?

Light On Anxiety Answer:

I do not believe there is any definitive empirical research that defines an exact amount of exercise you need to boost your mood. I think the harm in this kind of “minimum required exercise perspective” is that it can lead you to “all or nothing” thinking where you believe that if you can’t get the “required” 30 minutes of exercise everyday then there’s no point in trying at all. I always tell my clients that each step counts and increasing movement from 2000 steps a day to 4000 steps a day is amazing and increasing movement to 15,000 steps a day is wonderful. Either way it is progress and more moments of pushing forward in life vs. remaining sedentary. 

However, it is important to keep in mind that exercise is not the full solution and when one is struggling with moderate to severe mental health symptoms, additional resources may be needed to help get one unstuck. But, exercise is certainly an accessible and important tool in the toolbox of wellness.

If you have a similar questions or concern, please schedule a call with Light On Anxiety to explore effective treatment for your anxiety or related conditions.

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