Could exercise improve mental health and cognitive skills for surgeons and other healthcare professionals?

D.A. Parry, R.S. Oeppen, M.S.A. Amin, P.A. Brennan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Workplace-related illness is common in the UK, and in healthcare more than five million working days over 10 years have been lost as a result. Occupational stress is well known and can affect clinicians at any stage, yet many healthcare professionals continue to work with this or other psychological problems (including anxiety, chronic fatigue, and burnout) as they do not wish to let their colleagues down. Mental health issues might be dismissed, particularly in surgery, because there is a misconception that surgeons can cope better with stress than those working in other specialties, and are better protected from clinical burnout. The benefit of exercise on physical health is clear, but its role in the maintenance of good mental health and well-being should not be underestimated. As society adopts an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, exercise for many has a lower priority than other activities. In this article we give an overview of the mental health issues that might affect doctors and surgeons, and explore how exercise can benefit our well-being and clinical performance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Early online date9 Apr 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Apr 2018


  • Exercise
  • mental health
  • burnout
  • clinical performance
  • healthcare
  • human factors


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