Make Exercise Work For You
Physical activity involves so much more than going to the gym or hopping on a treadmill. Finding what you like to do helps with adherence and better mental health outcomes.
To maximize success, try different times of the day. Download an app or take a class at the gym. Try exercising alone or with friends. Plug into music or go for a run and tune into nature. Although it may take some trial and error, keep experimenting until you find what works best for you.
What Are The Psychological Benefits Of Exercise With Depression
Improved self-esteem is a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.
Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.
Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neuron receptors endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind some pain medicines. However, unlike with morphine, the activation of these receptors by the body’s endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence.
Regular exercise has been proven to:
- Reduce stress
Because strong social support is important for those with depression, joining a group exercise class may be beneficial. Or you can exercise with a close friend or your partner. In doing so, you will benefit from the physical activity and emotional comfort, knowing that others are supportive of you.
Exercise And The Mind
Exercise pumps blood to the brain, which can help you to think more clearly.
It increases the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory.
It also increases the connections between the nerve cells in the brain. This improves your memory and helps protect your brain against injury and disease.
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Can Structured Exercise Program Can Help
Research suggests that regular walking, and not just formal exercise programs, may improve mood. Exercise and physical activity can be good for your health, even though they arent the same.
- Physical activity refers to any activity that exercises your muscles and uses energy. It can be part of work, home, or leisure.
- An exercise program is a planned, structured, repetitive activity that improves or maintains physical fitness.
Although exercise might be associated with running around the gym, it can also refer to other activities. Exercising can include various activities that increase your activity level and make you feel more energetic.
Any activity that gets your heart pumping can help you feel happier. Running, lifting weights, basketball, and other activities stimulating your heart can be great ways to stay fit. Physical activity, such as gardening or walking around the block, can also help.
You dont have to do all your physical activity or exercise. Find ways to increase your physical activity by broadening your outlook on exercise. Consider taking the stairs over the elevator. Park further from work to make it easy to take a short walk. Consider biking to work, even if you live near your job.
Walk Regularly To Help Ease The Blues
Simply putting one foot in front of the other may be the trick to feeling better thats because walking is an aerobic exercise thats suited for almost everyone. All it takes is a pair of comfortable, supportive shoes, and youre ready to go.
Practical wisdom suggests that doing something is better than doing nothing in terms of physical activity, says Muzina. If depression has made you sedentary, start off slowly and gradually increase time and distance, he advises.
Hafeez agrees. If you set too high of expectations, you may self-blame and feel guilty if you dont meet those expectations. Set expectations that are realistic, such as going on a five-minute walk, she explains.
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The Effect Of Exercise On Anxiety And Depression
Having anxiety or depression sometimes puts exercise at the bottom of your to-do list, if it is even on it at all. It requires energy and focus that, depending on the day, you simply may not have. Understanding the potential benefits exercise has to offer to reduce symptoms in people who have mild to moderate depression and anxiety may be the one thing to get you motivated to start exercising more.
Did you know that 75% of all cases of mental illness begin developing by the age of 24? Over 40 million U.S. adults suffer from anxiety and 75% of them experience their first episode by the age of 22 . Over 30% of college-aged students in 2011 indicated sometime within the last 12 months they, felt so depressed it was difficult to function .
College can be a very stressful environment for young adults and many students tend to become very anxious once they begin their college education. Juggling many aspects of life such as school, work, and social life can put a toll on anyones mental health, potentially allowing mild to moderate depression to set in without the student even realizing it.
How does exercise help ease anxiety and depression?
Anxiety and depression are very common, especially among college students. There are many forms of anxiety and levels of depression. If you are unaware of what anxiety and depression symptoms may look like here are some common indications .
Overcoming Obstacles To Exercise
Even when you know that exercise will help you feel better, taking that first step is still easier said than done. Obstacles to exercising are very realparticularly when youre also struggling with a mental health issue.
Here are some common barriers and how you can get past them.
Feeling exhausted. When youre tired, depressed, or stressed, it seems that working out will just make you feel worse. But the truth is that physical activity is a powerful energizer. Studies show that regular exercise can dramatically reduce fatigue and increase your energy levels. If you are really feeling tired, promise yourself a quick, 5-minute walk. Chances are, once you get moving youll have more energy and be able to walk for longer.
Feeling overwhelmed. When youre stressed or depressed, the thought of adding another obligation to your busy daily schedule can seem overwhelming. Working out just doesnt seem practical. If you have children, finding childcare while you exercise can also be a big hurdle. However, if you begin thinking of physical activity as a priority , youll soon find ways to fit small amounts of exercise into even the busiest schedule.
Feeling hopeless. Even if youve never exercised before, you can still find ways to comfortably get active. Start slow with easy, low-impact activities a few minutes each day, such as walking or dancing.
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Intense Exercises For Anxiety
Of course, it’s all leading up to the most intense exercises you can complete. The greater the intensity, the more beneficial the exercise will be for anxiety. Make sure you talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program – especially an intense one.
- Long Distance Jogging When you’re able to get there, long distance jogging can be incredible. That’s because when you reach a certain level, you get what’s known as the “runner’s high” – a massive rush of endorphins that many describe as feeling incredible, and is great to control anxiety.
- Joining a Gym Joining a gym counts as mild, moderate, and intense exercise, because there are so many different things you can do at the gym to manage your anxiety. But many people prefer not to join a gym until they’re ready. Once you’re ready, though, you’ll find that there is no limit to the number of exercises, and thus no limit to how intense you can exercise.
- Daily Healthy Living Finally, when you’re ready, you can find things to do every day that provide you with a daily and active workout. Consider hiking every weekend, biking to work – anything you can do to live a more active lifestyle.
When you’re ready to make the commitment, the more you can increase your exercise, the better you’ll be, and the easier time you’ll have managing your anxiety.
Let Us Help You Manage & Treat Your Depression
Depression can be exhausting and frustrating, but exercise can help. Physical fitness may regenerate your brain and may improve your mental health, too. Here at StoneRidge Centers, we combine brain science with compassionate care.
You dont have to let depression run your life. We can help you manage depression clinically, medically, psychologically, and naturally. Call us today at 928-583-7799 if you or a loved one is dealing with depression.
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Exercise As Anxiety Management
Of course, inactivity is not the cause of anxiety for everyone. Some people are genetically prone to anxiety. Others have had experiences that shaped their anxiety symptoms. Whether inactivity caused your anxiety or not, there is also reason to believe that exercise alone can be one of the best ways to manage it.
Anxiety management is about performing behaviors that fight anxiety, and exercise – of all possible behaviors – is potentially one of the best anxiety cures. Evidence suggests all of the following:
There are countless other reasons why exercise may also help with anxiety. Exercise improves confidence. It ensures that your body is healthy, and good health is important for every mental health issue. It also helps your body run more efficiently, and prevent any “misfiring” that may be causing persistent anxiety.
Other Mental Health Benefits Of Exercise
Even if youre not suffering from a mental health problem, regular physical activity can still offer a welcome boost to your mood, outlook, and mental well-being.
Exercise can help provide:
Sharper memory and thinking. The same endorphins that make you feel better also help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp for tasks at hand. Exercise also stimulates the growth of new brain cells and helps prevent age-related decline.
Higher self-esteem. Regular activity is an investment in your mind, body, and soul. When it becomes habit, it can foster your sense of self-worth and make you feel strong and powerful. Youll feel better about your appearance and, by meeting even small exercise goals, youll feel a sense of achievement.
Better sleep. Even short bursts of exercise in the morning or afternoon can help regulate your sleep patterns. If you prefer to exercise at night, relaxing exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching can help promote sleep.
More energy. Increasing your heart rate several times a week will give you more get-up-and-go. Start off with just a few minutes of exercise per day, and increase your workout as you feel more energized.
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Start By Identifying Your Fear
Figure out what is the cause of your anxiety. Determine what this is first, then you can work on retraining your brain.
Write down the things that trigger anxiety for you.
These things can sometimes be hard to admit. We dont like to dig deep and think about what triggers us to feel uncomfortable.
Anxiety feels like it just happens out of nowhere sometimes.
In reality, though, you have a fear that triggers anxiety for you.
So dig deep and figure out what it is for you.
Can You Really Exercise Away Depression And Anxiety
On the internet, there are endless lists of the things you can do to heal yourself of any ailment: from depression to migraines, from anxiety to irritable bowel syndrome. Apparently you can cure anything simply chant positive mantras, drink enough water to become a camel, and practice yoga 24/7maybe even shower while standing on ones head.
The internet would like us to believe that this is particularly true when it comes to mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. If I had a dime for every time Ive heard just do X to snap out of Y, Id be retired, sipping umbrella drinks in Tahiti.
That said, there has been more than anecdotal evidence that something as simple as regular exercise cure anxiety and depression. Some experts maintain that exercise holds the potential to ease the symptoms of many illnesses, including those of the mental variety. Lets explore whether exercise really can make a difference with anxiety and depression, or similar mental illness diagnoses that affect one in five Americans.
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Remember Palliative Care Is Still Care
If you suffer from chronic depression or anxiety, you no doubt know you may be in for a lifelong battle. However, its important not to let your challenges throw you into a deeper despair.
Even if combining exercise with your regular treatment doesnt bring a cure, it can lift your spirits for a time and provide some extra motivation. Even if exercise is not be a cure, if it can make you feel better, its worth doing. It is also important for your overall health, which should be plenty motivating.
Living with anxiety or depression, or both, isnt easy. If you suffer from mental illness, you already know how hard it can be. While its not a cure, exercise can be another weapon in the battle against depression and anxiety.
Getting Started With Exercise When You Have A Mental Health Issue
Many of us find it hard enough to motivate ourselves to exercise at the best of times. But when you feel depressed, anxious, stressed or have another mental health problem, it can seem doubly difficult. This is especially true of depression and anxiety, which can leave you feeling trapped in a catch-22 situation. You know exercise will make you feel better, but depression has robbed you of the energy and motivation you need to work out, or your social anxiety means you cant bear the thought of being seen at an exercise class or running through the park.
Start small. When youre under the cloud of anxiety or depression and havent exercised for a long time, setting extravagant goals like completing a marathon or working out for an hour every morning will only leave you more despondent if you fall short. Better to set achievable goals and build up from there.
Focus on activities you enjoy. Any activity that gets you moving counts. That could include throwing a Frisbee with a dog or friend, walking laps of a mall window shopping, or cycling to the grocery store. If youve never exercised before or dont know what you might enjoy, try a few different things. Activities such as gardening or tackling a home improvement project can be great ways to start moving more when you have a mood disorderas well as helping you become more active, they can also leave you with a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
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What Exercises Will Improve Your Anxiety Symptoms
People hear “start exercising” and they immediately zone out. When you haven’t exercised, picking up exercise can be pretty hard. It should be noted that exercise always is hard first before it gets easier – your body needs to get used to the breathing and exertion, and within a few weeks it usually does – but there is no denying that starting to exercise can feel like a grueling task.
There’s good news – you don’t need to exercise intensely. You simply need to get out and get moving.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try to ramp your way up to more intense exercises. For some of the benefits of exercise on anxiety – especially endorphin release – you need to exercise as intensely as possible. But the most important thing you can do is get up and move, and if you simply go play some basketball or go for a bike ride once a day, you’ll see a noticeable difference even without added intensity.
Anxiety Sensitivity And Exposure
Anxiety sensitivity is a term for the tendency to misinterpret and catastrophize anxiety-related sensations based on the belief that they will result in disastrous physical, psychological, and/or social outcomes . McWilliams and Asmundson found an inverse relationship between anxiety sensitivity and exercise frequency and suggested that this relationship was due to avoidance of the physiological sensations of exercise that may be interpreted as anxiety and panic. A number of research studies have pointed to the effectiveness of short-term aerobic exercise to reduce anxiety sensitivity . Exposing someone with high anxiety sensitivity to the physiological symptoms they fear, such as rapid heartbeat, in the context of physical exercise increases their tolerance for such symptoms . This exposure reveals that the feared physiological sensations may be uncomfortable, but do not pose a serious threat . Repeated exposures through regular aerobic exercise may also facilitate habituation to the feared sensations .
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What Is The Link Between Exercise And Depression
Exercise is one of the best and most affordable ways to improve your overall well-being. Plus, the positive link between physical activity and mood is impressive.
From a decrease in depressive and anxiety symptoms to better sleep and less stress, participating in a regular exercise program has some major perks.
And while weve known for years that treatment approaches such as psychotherapy and medication are effective in treating depression, research over the last decade shows that lifestyle interventions like exercise can also reduce depressive symptoms and improve your overall mood.
Reaping The Mental Health Benefits Of Exercise Is Easier Than You Think
You dont need to devote hours out of your busy day to train at the gym, sweat buckets, or run mile after monotonous mile to reap all the physical and mental health benefits of exercise. Just 30-minutes of moderate exercise five times a week is enough. And even that can be broken down into two 15-minute or even three 10-minute exercise sessions if thats easier.
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