Why exercise is beneficial in treating PTSD


We here at Run Free From PTSD believe that exercise is highly beneficial in treating PTSD under professional medical guidance and here’s why:

Physical activity causes brain pleasure centres to be stimulated and leads to feelings of wellbeing. Some research studies indicate that regular exercise may be as effective as other treatments like medication to relieve mild PTSD. Generally, exercise has a place in treatment as part of a comprehensive approach to the illness.

Serotonin – the brain chemical

Serotonin is an important brain chemical that contributes to a range of functions, including sleep cycles, libido, appetite and mood. Serotonin has been linked to mental illnesses like depression and PTSD.

Some researchers have found that regular exercise, and the increase in physical fitness that results, alters serotonin levels in the brain and leads to improved mood and feelings of wellbeing. Some research indicates that regular exercise boosts body temperature, which may ease PTSD and depression by influencing the brain chemicals.

Benefits of exercise

Apart from changes in brain activity, other things that may help explain the benefits of exercise include:

  • The person experiences a boost to their self-esteem because they take an active role in their own recovery
  • Some forms of exercise, such as team sports, are also social events.
  • Physical activity burns up stress chemicals, like adrenaline, which promotes a more relaxed state of mind
  • An enjoyable bout of exercise may be distracting enough to break the vicious cycle of pessimistic thinking

The physical benefits of regular exercise include:

  • Improved cardiovascular fitness
  • Reduced risk of premature death
  • Reduced cholesterol level
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Maintenance of healthy weight
  • Improved muscle tone

So why not start exercising today and start your journey to become #PTSDfree

Run Free From PTSD


4 thoughts on “Why exercise is beneficial in treating PTSD

  1. i do not suffer from ptsd however thought id try this out just to see how i would feel. i felt much better after the run, i can see how exercise can elevate the symptoms of ptsd.


  2. I have severe PTSD and really believe in exercise to find release from the distress. I have learned that I must do two short segments (35-40 minutes) of physical exercise (walking) each day. One long session wipes me out for the day and is too much of a strain on my body. I actually call my exercise sessions now movement sessions. It denotes more pleasure and more freedom of the body to move. Works in my head.


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