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Exercise Mental Health

The Role of Exercise and Physical Activity in Managing Psychiatric Disorders


Research shows that people who exercise regularly have better mental health and emotional well-being, and lower rates of mental illness. Taking up exercise seems to reduce the risk of developing mental illness. It also seems to help in treating some mental health conditions, like depression and anxiety.

Exercise and physical activity play a significant role in managing psychiatric disorders at Shanti Homes. Incorporating exercise into the treatment plan can provide numerous benefits for individuals with psychiatric disorders. Psychiatric disorders encompass a wide range of conditions, including anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and more.

These disorders affect millions of individuals worldwide, cutting across age, gender, and cultural backgrounds. However, due to pervasive societal misconceptions and lack of awareness, those living with psychiatric disorders often find themselves facing isolation, judgment, and even self-stigma.

Some key ways in which exercise and physical activity can help manage psychiatric disorders:

1. Mood regulation:

Exercise has been shown to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins, neurotransmitters that promote feelings of well-being and happiness. Regular exercise can alleviate depressive symptoms and help individuals better manage their emotions. .

2. Stress reduction:

 Psychiatric disorders often coexist with high levels of stress. Exercise can act as a natural stress reliever, as it helps to lower the levels of stress hormones in the body. Engaging in physical activity, whether it’s aerobic exercises, strength training, or yoga, can provide a healthy outlet for stress and promote relaxation.

3. Cognitive function improvement:

 Many psychiatric disorders are associated with cognitive impairments, such as difficulties with attention, memory, and executive functioning. Regular exercise has been shown to enhance cognitive function by improving blood flow to the brain, promoting neuroplasticity, and reducing inflammation. This can lead to better concentration, memory retention, and overall cognitive performance.

4. Sleep regulation:

Sleep disturbances are common in psychiatric disorders. Exercise can help regulate sleep patterns by promoting better sleep quality and reducing insomnia symptoms. Physical activity increases the production of adenosine, a chemical that promotes sleep. Moreover, regular exercise can help establish a consistent sleep routine, which is essential for individuals with psychiatric disorders.

Sleep regulation is another important aspect of managing psychiatric disorders, and exercise can play a significant role in promoting better sleep.

 5. Social interaction and support:

 Group exercise activities or sports can provide opportunities for social interaction and support, which are crucial for individuals with psychiatric disorders. Participating in exercise programs within Shanti Homes can foster a sense of community, reduce feelings of isolation, and provide a supportive environment where individuals can connect with others who may be experiencing similar challenges.

6. Self-esteem and empowerment:

 Psychiatric disorders often impact self-esteem and self-confidence. Engaging in regular physical activity and achieving personal fitness goals can boost self-esteem and empower individuals. Exercise provides a sense of accomplishment, improved body image, and a greater sense of control over one’s well-being.

7. Medication augmentation:

While exercise cannot replace medication for managing psychiatric disorders, it can complement medication by enhancing its effectiveness. Research has shown that exercise can augment the effects of certain medications and reduce the dosage needed for symptom management.

Below is a table summarizing the role of exercise and physical activity in managing psychiatric disorders:

Psychiatric DisorderRole of Exercise and Physical Activity
Depression– Releases endorphins, improving mood

– Acts as a natural stress reliever

– Enhances cognitive function and memory

– Promotes better sleep quality

– Provides a positive coping mechanism
Anxiety– Releases endorphins, reducing anxiety symptoms

– Reduces stress and promotes relaxation

– Enhances cognitive function and attention

– Improves sleep quality and reduces insomnia
Bipolar Disorder– Helps stabilize mood swings and manage depressive symptoms

– Acts as a healthy outlet for excess energy

– Promotes better sleep and regulates circadian rhythm

– Improves overall cognitive function
ADHD– Increases focus, attention, and impulse control

– Enhances cognitive function and executive functioning

– Provides an outlet for excess energy and restlessness

– Improves mood and self-esteem
Eating Disorders– Acts as a positive distraction from disordered eating thoughts

– Promotes a healthier body image and self-perception

– Enhances overall well-being and self-confidence

– Regulates appetite and improves digestion
Schizophrenia– Reduces negative symptoms such as apathy and social withdrawal

– Enhances overall cognitive function

– Provides a structured routine and sense of purpose

– Improves sleep quality and reduces insomnia
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)– Reduces hyperarousal symptoms and anxiety

– Provides a healthy outlet for stress and trauma release

– Improves sleep quality and reduces nightmares

– Boosts self-confidence and empowers resilience

Please note that while exercise and physical activity can be beneficial for managing psychiatric disorders, they should not replace professional treatment and medication when necessary. It is important to consult with healthcare professionals to develop a comprehensive treatment plan.

It is important to note that medication augmentation through exercise should always be done in consultation with healthcare professionals. They can provide guidance on the appropriate exercise regimen, monitor medication adjustments, and ensure that exercise complements the individual’s specific treatment plan. 

At Shanti Homes, incorporating exercise and physical activity into the treatment plans of individuals with psychiatric disorders can be done through various means, such as offering structured exercise programs, providing access to fitness facilities, promoting outdoor activities, and encouraging engagement in sports or recreational activities. The specific exercise regimen should be tailored to everyone’s needs, abilities, and preferences, with appropriate supervision and guidance from healthcare professionals or trained staff.


I realized I had bipolar disorder when my son was about 6 months old. I was feeling very good at one time, able to accomplish so much. I slept little and still had so much energy. My mind was constantly going. I would get upset easily at my husband for small things and be a different me infact unusual me. I finally was reading an article about bipolar and what the symptoms were. I recognized that this was me. I went to my friend and she suggested me to prefer Shanti Home. Then Shanti Home gave me with the right guidance and medication to help me be balanced.


I am Garima Bajaj daughter of Mrs. Santosh Kapoor My mom is the best mother a person can ever dream of. She is a kind soft-spoken, humble and loving lady. My mother had 2 daughters me and my younger sister Meenu Kapoor, who is in the USA. As a child my whole world revolved around her, she was there for me every time I needed her. She taught us to be good human beings, and never to give hope before trying. Whatever I am today, I am because of her. It is difficult for me to find words to express what she is to me. She ran a primary wing school, that school was doing quite well, looked after us, her husband and she did all her tasks with perfection. My father died when she was 56 years, and that was a major setback in her life. From the outside she looked strong as she had to take care of her younger daughter, she had to marry her, but inside she took a lot of tension, which I think affected her memory loss problem. After my sister got married, she was left all alone, that thought that all have gone leaving me alone was a major cause of her Dementia problem. I sold her house in Amritsar and bought her a flat in Gurgaon near my house so that she does not feel lonely, she never complained but she missed Amritsar, which also triggered her memory loss problem. She was not able to take care of her house, so I brought her to live at my place. Initially, I was not aware of the disease and the problems related to them, as the disease progressed problems related to the disease came up, and her behavior changed, she became hyper, was restless the whole day, and repeated the same thing again and again. Then I came to know about Shanti Home. It was a place for dementia patients. I talked to the doctors they were all very helpful to me. They suggested I keep her there for some period as these patients need a lot of care and monitoring which is not possible at home, so I kept her there, she was given good care at Shanti Home, her behavior also improved, there the patients are made to do a lot of activities which keep their mind involved which is very helpful for them, they have a specific area for these brain activities, this is a boom for these patients, I especially thank all the doctors at Shanti Home for their help and support, it has been a great help to me, I think Govt must also take some steps to help fight against this deadly disease. Regards Garima Bajaj

Mrs. Santosh Kapoor (Garima Bajaj)

I have been their patient for one year. They are always thorough and great listeners.

Fatima Sheikh

Easy to talk to and thorough, making for a really good experience overall.

Sanket K

The doctor was very thorough and spent time listening to me as well as conducting a complete exam. She clearly cares about her patients. I am very confident in her

Swati Verma
Swati Verma

In November 2014, I had the privilege to visit Shanti Home Psychiatric Care and Rehabilitation Center. I was very keen on this visit and it was a very pleasant experience for me. The Rehab home is very well equipped with trained staff, a fully functional kitchen serving nutritious meals (planned by nutritionist) to residents, surrounded by a well-maintained garden. The center has lots of activities and the daily schedule is carefully planned to provide stimulation to enhance cognition, expedite healing, teaching vocational skills so that after discharge from home the person is able to fulfill a useful role in society. Activities also included personality and linguistic skills development along with yoga, aerobics, etc. skillful use of music therapy; physiotherapy, etc. has also been incorporated. I was very happy to see the availability of doctors round the clock which ensured proper medical care. Skilled psychologists, psychotherapists, and Occupational Therapists are providing their best under the guidance of learned and eminent psychiatrists from Delhi. But the thing which made the biggest impact on my mind and heart was the human touch at the center which could be seen in the overall attitude of the staff and the environment of the rehab home. I was pleasantly surprised that even the supporting staff was attending to residents with respect and was trying their best to put a smile on residents’ faces. And then I realized why it can truly be called a (rehab) HOME. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to visit this home and spending a few hours with its loving family

Dr Rashmi Moghe Hirave

Our son was suffering from Schizophrenia, and depression and was a chain smoker. We had been to many psychiatrists, psychologists, and healers over the last six years. Finally, we admitted him in Shanti Home, Greater Noida. His recovery has been phenomenal in just three months and our son seems a ‘totally new person to us. We owe deep gratitude to the team under Dr. Rupali for providing us hope when all around us was gloomy. We have cherished our relationship with Shanti Home and with each of the doctors, psychologists, and all. While we will still be coming back regularly for counseling, the bond of trust will be everlasting. Thanks again to the entire team and with best wishes.

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