The Wellness Paradox on Facebook The Wellness Paradox on LinkedIn The Wellness Paradox on YouTube The Wellness Paradox on Apple Podcasts The Wellness Paradox on Spotify Podcasts
◀ Back to Podcasts

The Role of Physical Activity and Exercise in Mental Health


Download The Wellness Paradox on Apple Podcasts The Wellness Paradox on Spotify Podcasts

The Role of Physical Activity and Exercise in Mental Health

For years we’ve understood the strong link between exercise and physical health. What has been underappreciated is the link between exercise, physical activity, and mental health. Our guest in episode 116, Dr. A'Naja Newsome knows this well, but also knows the narrative is changing. This paradigm shift is not a moment too soon given the severity of the mental health crisis in America. As Dr. Newsome points out in our conversation the burden of disease from mental illness is on par with chronic conditions like obesity and diabetes.

Dr. Newsome reminds us that all is not lost. Physical activity and exercise can play a prominent role in reducing depression, anxiety, and help us cope with stressors better. Those of us who exercise regularly certainly know this already. Sadly, as we’ll discuss, this perspective isn’t adopted and broadly operationalized in the mental health community. Dr. Newsome is seeking to change that through her research, advocacy, and education of fitness professionals. Join us as we dive into the critical concepts fitness professionals need to consider about helping their clients improve their mental health and treat mental illness through movement.

 Our Guest: Dr. A'Naja Newsome PH.D., CEP, RCRSP

A respected educator with a doctorate in interdisciplinary education with an emphasis in exercise science, public health, measurement and research from the University of South Florida, Dr. Newsome is a nationally recognized presenter and has represented a number of leading organizations as a master trainer, including American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, and Technogym USA. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and master’s degree in Sport Administration. She is a Certified Exercise Physiologist through ACSM and Certified Health Coach through American Council on Exercise.

As an educational consultant with rigorous training in research and program evaluation, Dr. Newsome works to engage higher education professionals in organizational assessment with a broad focus on student wellbeing and a specific emphasis on the impact of physical activity and exercise on student success outcomes. She offers theoretical and practical solutions to communicate program utilization and effectiveness to a variety of stakeholders.

Links from this Episode:

Optimize Strength Website (Dr. Newsome's coaching website)

Mental Wellbeing Certification for Fitness Professionals

ACSM Exercise is Medicine

Dr. Newsome on Instagram

Dr. Newsome on Twitter/X