Dale Patterson, B.Sc. Kin
Mood and Anxiety Disorder Inpatient
23 ½ Hours
• burning off stress
• reducing muscle
• boosting endorphins
Exercise makes us feel better.
The real reason…
• Exercise gets the blood pumping and then
the brain starts functioning at its best
• John Ratey M.D. believes that the whole
point of exercise is to build and condition the
brain…that the benefits to muscles and the
heart & lungs are bonus side effects
Think of the hunter gatherers who came before
us…in order to survive, physical prowess and
brain power was needed to find and store food.
The link between food, physical activity and
learning is integral to our brain.
The problem is we aren’t hunting and gathering
anymore…. today most lead a sedentary life.
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
CANADA 51.1 51.6 52.3 52.1 52.5
Males 58.6 59.2 60.9 60.1 59.9
Females 43.5 43.9 43.7 44.2 45.0
ONTARIO 51.6 51.4 52.6 52.3 52.9
Males 59.3 58.7 60.9 59.9 60.7
Females 43.9 44.1 44.3 44.8 45.2
Body mass index, overweight or obese, self-
reported, adult, by sex, provinces and territories
Source: Statistics Canada, Date modified: 2013-06-17
Percentage diagnosed with diabetes, by sex,
household population aged 12 or older, Canada,
2001 to 2010
Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010.
Our modern sedentary lifestyle
is threatening our very survival.
The effects of a lack of physical
activity and poor nutrition is
Exercise 'as good as medicines' in treating disease
The WHO says regular moderate intensity physical activity —
such as walking, cycling or participating in sports — can
reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, colon
and breast cancer, and depression, as well as cutting the
risk of bone fractures and helping to control body weight.
At least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity
a week is recommended for adults. But only 53 per cent of
adults achieve this, according to the Canadian Health
What are we missing here?
brains too –
• If we want to keep our brains functioning at
their best, we need to physically move our
bodies – hard.
• Physical activity is critical to how we think
• Exercise prepares the brain for learning.
• Exercise affects mood, anxiety and attention
and guards against stress.
The brain responds to exercise like muscles do…
growing with use, shrinking with inactivity
What about Neurotransmitters ?
• They’re all about communication of thought and
emotions …in the brain.
• About 80% of the signaling in the brain is carried out
by 2 neurotransmitters (glutamate and GABA).
• Psychiatry focuses on a group of neurotransmitters
(serotonin, nor epinephrine and dopamine) that act
as regulators of the signaling process.
• Many drugs used to improve mental health target
one or more of these three neurotransmitters.
• Influences mood, impulsivity, anger, and
• Often amplifies signals that influence attention,
perception motivation and arousal
• Often thought of as the learning, reward
(satisfaction), attention and movement
neurotransmitter, takes on sometimes contradictory
roles in different parts of the brain.
levels of the
in the brain
Unlike a drug….exercise manipulates
more than one neurotransmitter
Why is This Important?
Exercise releases a flood
of neurochemicals that
physically bolster the
brain’s infrastructure and
can alter the effects of
stress and depression on
the nerve cells in the
Understanding how physical activity improves
brain function may change the way you view
Your daily exercise routine may become a ‘pull’
rather than a ‘push’ .
You’ll want to be physically active.
LIFE IS LIKE A BICYCLE
IN ORDER TO KEEP YOUR BALANCE
YOU MUST KEEP MOVING
Exercise and Anxiety
• Instinctively we want to avoid a situation that
makes us feel anxious.
• BUT what if we did the opposite?
• What if we used exercise to help with feelings of
- It would work on both the body and the brain
Exercise & Anxiety
• It provides a distraction
• It reduces muscle tension
• It builds brain resources
• It teaches a different outcome
• It reroutes your circuits
• It improves your resilience
• It sets you free
Take Away Messages
• Every day
• It’s good for your brain & your body
• It’s good for your mental health and your
• Your mind and body are connected