Men's Health Month: The power of physical activity for your mental health

It's easy to succumb to the temptation of hibernation in winter. But during this period, getting some exercise can be quite beneficial for our mental health. Picture by GRAHAM MANSFIELD /Unsplash

It's easy to succumb to the temptation of hibernation in winter. But during this period, getting some exercise can be quite beneficial for our mental health. Picture by GRAHAM MANSFIELD /Unsplash

Published Jun 25, 2023


Gentlemen, it's time to break a sweat and get those endorphins flowing!

As we enter the winter season and celebrate Men's Health Awareness Month, it's important to remember that physical exercise isn't just about looking good on the outside - it's about feeling good on the inside too.

Studies have shown that regular exercise can have a positive impact on men's mental wellbeing, helping to reduce stress, boost mood, and improve overall cognitive function.

So, if you're feeling the winter blues creeping in, it's time to lace up those sneakers and hit the gym. And trust me, your mind (and body) will thank you for it.

Picture by henri meilhac /Unsplash

Themba Ndlovu, brand manager for Clere For Men Active, says that while the cold temperatures may discourage us from going outside, staying active during the winter months has several advantages for our mental health.

Ndlovu shares the benefits of how physical activity can help overcome the seasonal blues and keep a positive attitude:

Mood enhancement: Regular physical activity, even during winter, stimulates the release of endorphins, often referred to as the ‘feel-good’ hormones.

These endorphins act as natural mood boosters, reducing feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.

Stress relief: Physical activity serves as an effective stress reliever, providing an outlet to release pent-up tension and worries.

Sunlight and vitamin D: Wintertime's shorter days and reduced sunshine quality can contribute to vitamin D insufficiency, which is connected to mood disorders like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and other mood disorders.

Engaging in outdoor physical activities during daylight hours exposes you to natural sunlight, allowing your body to produce vitamin D.

This essential nutrient plays a crucial role in regulating mood, improving mental health, and combating symptoms of depression.

Increased energy and vitality: The winter season can sometimes make us feel sluggish and lethargic.

However, regular physical activity can counteract this lack of energy by boosting circulation and improving overall fitness levels.

Engaging in exercises, such as brisk walking or indoor workouts, enhances blood flow, increases oxygen supply to the brain, and elevates energy levels.

Social interaction and connection: Wintertime physical activity offers chances for social connection and engagement, both of which are essential for maintaining our mental health.

It is possible to engage in meaningful social interaction by signing up for group fitness classes, playing soccer in winter sports leagues, or even planning winter walks with friends or family.

Building resilience: Physical activity is a powerful tool for building resilience and promoting mental and emotional healing. When we engage in regular physical activity, we're not only strengthening our bodies –we're also nurturing our minds and souls.

Winter can be tough on your skin, with dry air, indoor heating, and frequent trips to the gym all contributing to potential damage.

To combat this, it's important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and using a rich body cream to keep your skin moisturised.

Additionally, consider protecting your face from biting winds with a running mask or scarf.

However, it's not just the dry air that can be harmful. Exercise, increased perspiration, and hot showers can also take a toll on your skin, making it essential to take extra care during the winter months, explained Ndlovu.

Read the latest issue of HEALTH digital magazine here.