6 Ways Exercise Can Benefit Individuals in Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities

exercise and mental health

6 Ways Exercise Can Benefit Individuals in Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities

More therapeutic programs are integrating holistic drug-free approaches into their treatment plans based on their low risk and accessibility. A recent study conducted by The University of Vermont found that patients responded positively to structured exercise programs offered in inpatient psychiatric facilities. In inpatient treatment, individuals with a wide range of symptoms are seeking individualized therapy as doctors monitor their medication and assess their progress. This intensive self-reflection can be exhausting and sometimes creates more stress for individuals as they begin to open up. We try to balance talk therapy with recreational activities and exercise to instill healthy habits into our students’ routines and to encourage them to have fun.

Objectives of this Study: How Exercise and Mental Health are Related

The main goal of this study was to propose alternative clinical strategies and healthier coping skills to manage anger, anxiety, depression, and self-esteem. Using a patient-centered approach, they proposed that individualized psychotherapy would be more beneficial when balanced with group exercise and nutrition education.

The clinicians believed that this would empower individuals to play a more active role in their recovery and increase self-regulation skills. Regardless of the individuals’ background, the therapeutic effects of exercise and mental health were consistent among all participants.

How Can Exercise Be Therapeutic?

  • Improves physiological emotion regulation. Exercise can help people escape from the intensity of their emotions in the moment. Depending on the type of exercise, it can either have a calming effect on your body or increase adrenaline in a healthy way. It can be a way to blow off steam or to channel your anxious energy in a different direction.
  • Reduces anxiety and depression. 95% of participants showed general improvements in mood and self-esteem. Around 92% reported reductions in clinical symptoms of depression, anxiety, and anger.
  • Does not require mental processing. According to the lead author, “the fantastic thing about these results is that if you’re in a psychotic state, you’re sort of limited with what you can do in terms of talk therapy or psychotherapy. It’s hard to receive a message through talk therapy in that state, whereas with exercise, you can use your body and not rely on emotional intelligence.”
  • Encourages greater mind-body connection. Therapy is often seen as a cerebral process, focusing on cognitive restructuring rather than understanding the connection between negative thoughts and unhealthy behaviors. Many people who struggle with mental health often report feeling dissociated from their body when they are under stress. Exercise increases awareness of the position and movement of your body. This deeper connection with your body increases body-trust and confidence.
  • More energy. Exercise releases neurotransmitters called endorphins that give a “natural high” and reduce feelings of pain. It is easy to become exhausted from an inpatient routine, but incorporating exercise into daily schedules offers a break from talk-intensive therapy and a way to renew energy.
  • Improved physical health. Over time, regular exercise is associated with a reduced risk of chronic disease. Many symptoms of illness are similar to effects of stress. By regulating physiological responses to stress consistently, not only does exercise build strength and endurance, but it boosts one’s immune system and resilience.

How Can ViewPoint Help

ViewPoint Center is a specialty hospital for boys and girls ages 12-17 who struggle with mental health disorders. ViewPoint Center a comprehensive therapeutic assessment facility that is licensed and provides 24-hour nursing. Viewpoint offers comprehensive assessments. Post evaluation, treatment plans are established to meet the unique needs of each student. By the end of the treatment period at ViewPoint, families have a clear understanding of the child’s diagnoses and are offered full guidance on how to move forward and seek proper treatment. ViewPoint takes a more integrative and holistic approach than many other inpatient facilities by incorporating exercise, mindfulness, and other recreational activities into our daily schedule. ViewPoint Center is dedicated to helping students and their families seek the treatment and care they need to lead happy and healthy lives.

Contact us at 855-290-9682 for more information. We can help your family today!


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