Physical activity impacts more than just physical health

Exercise / YMCA

We know that being physically active comes with perks like improved sleep and digestion, more energy and improved health. But did you know that regular exercise can also help to significantly improve your mental health too? 

For some, the endorphin rush we get after that spin class or jog along the seawall motivates us to continue exercising. For many though, the thought of even getting out of bed or leaving home to exercise can be a daunting thing.

Exercise / YMCA

Exercise / YMCA

In a recent study by UBC and the Mood Disorders Association of BC (MDABC), researchers found that half of participants reported a decrease in anxiety and nearly half reported a decrease in depression after completing three months of physical activity. Almost three quarters of participants also reported moving away from a sedentary lifestyle after the study was complete.

Community organizations like the YMCA of Greater Vancouver and the MDABC are a great source to connect with if you’re ready for help. Together they’ve teamed up to launch Jumpstep, a free 12-week physical activity program for adults over the age of 18 who experience symptoms of depression or anxiety.

Participants meet with a physician from MDABC as a group to learn positive life coping strategies, while doing some pretty neat group activities, having meaningful discussions and asking questions to support mental wellness. Trained and certified YMCA fitness professionals encourage the group to explore fun and creative ways to get moving, all tailored to the group’s needs and interests. Better still, participants also get a free three-month membership at the Y, a fitness tracker and a customized fitness routine that helps set reasonable goals and keeps you accountable.

A recent pilot participant commented that the program was “lots of fun and very rewarding. Focusing on my own personalized exercise habits and having physicians guide a part of Jumpstep, really helped everyone succeed in health management as well as exercise goals. And, I lost 19.2 pounds between the first and last program session was a great side-benefit!”

Exercise / YMCA

Exercise / YMCA

The program kicks off in April, and space is limited so get in touch at or call 604-673-6179.

Check out the YMCA’s website to learn more.

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