The Running Doctor: Exercise good for mind as well as body

The enormous increase in the number of people who exercise suggests that exercise offers more to an individual than mere psychological benefits, especially during this COVID-19 era. In an individual there is a clear relationship between mind and body.

There is some research which suggests that exercise programs may be useful in treating many physically and mentally strained conditions. Self-evaluation, that so often accompanies many conditions, may be combated through the use of exercise as a treatment regime. A more positive attitude of one’s self may develop, along with a greater awareness of one’s physiological responses to stress. It has been found that rather than lengthier treatments, such as counseling and psychotherapy, positive changes in personality can be evident after a period as short as one month after participation in an exercise program. It is most important that such individuals be monitored by a physician knowledgeable in this type of exercise programming. Positive changes in mental health have been known to occur because of exercise.

It has been shown that exercise reduces the symptoms of emotional distress in individuals. This would include addiction to alcohol and other drugs, sleep disturbances, over-eating, and smoking. A proper exercise program may inspire these people with an opportunity to set their goals. When these goals are understood and reached, it can generate a sense of pride, accomplishment, and self-esteem, thereby making it easier to love oneself.

Dr. Robert F. Weiss is a podiatrist. He was a former member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the Olympic Marathon Trials. Dr. Weiss is a veteran of 35 marathons. For more information go to