Exercisers boost Mood

David SalvaireSound Telegraph

The link between exercise and mental health is behind a recent push to get more residents active, with obesity figures in Kwinana still weighing in well beyond the State average.

The Exercise Your Mood campaign was launched earlier this month by the Black Dog Institute, supported by research showing people who exercise regularly experience fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety.

With one in five Australians experiencing mental health issues, Exercise Your Mood aims to reverse the trend with physical activity.

The campaign follows troubling data from leading think tank Australian Health Policy Collaboration showing Kwinana has the highest levels of childhood obesity in WA.

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The area’s adult population was also above the State average (24.6 per cent), with 32.1 per cent living with obesity.

Anytime Fitness Kwinana owner Jarrad Miles said after the gym held a recent 24-hour Treadmill Challenge to raise funds for suicide prevention, the cost of poor mental health hit home.

“Some of the people we spoke to throughout the event told us how much suicide had affected them and how coming to the gym makes them feel good,” he said. “We’ve seen so many people come in who are overweight and not feeling good about themselves which can lead to all kinds of negative thoughts.”

Mr Miles said despite Kwinana’s notoriously poor health profile, more people were looking to make a change in their lives.

“Getting active changes your mindset and changes how you feel about yourself,” he said.

“There’s still a long way to go here in Kwinana but we’ve seen a wide variety of people reach out and start to make a change which is a good sign.”

Minister for Health and Kwinana MLA Roger Cook said regular exercise was important in reducing stress because it released endorphins which can improve your mood.

“I encourage everyone to get started and just get moving in whatever way you enjoy,” he said.

“Taking the first step, just getting out the door or starting your routine, can be the hardest bit — it’s worth it.”

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