Do you suffer from anxiety and/or depression? We know it can be hard to get your life back on track – but exercise is great start to trying. In fact, exercise plays an important role in your overall health, hence the saying ‘A healthy body means a healthy mind’. And exercising regularly can be effective in the treatment and prevention of anxiety and depression.
What are the benefits of exercise? How often do you need to exercise? How can it help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression? And how can you motivate yourself to exercise and maintain a routine? Read on to find out.
Exercise provides many benefits for your physical, mental and emotional health. Some of these include:
Exercise is essential for maintaining good health, so get moving now!
Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin; ‘feel good’ chemicals that improve your mood and take your mind off worries. Exercise also keeps your GABA and glutamate levels high, which are neurotransmitters that allow your brain to regulate emotions and some cognitive functions. So when you’re anxious or depressed, exercising can make you feel better and help you better harness your thoughts and emotions. Regular exercise can keep your anxiety or depression from returning.
Now, let’s take a closer look at how exercise can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Some of the symptoms of anxiety include: worrying or panic, nervousness, emotional volatility, tiredness, increased tension and stress and self-doubt leading to failure.
Exercise can effectively treat anxiety by reducing tension and stress, increasing your physical and mental energy, and improving well-being through the release of endorphins.
Some practical exercises you can do that suppress the symptoms of anxiety are:
When you have depression, you feel ‘down’ or ‘blue’ for two or more weeks due to reasons like stress or even anxiety. This could cause a loss of interest for most activities, irregular sleep patterns and low self-esteem or negative thoughts. You could also feel irritable, fatigued, hopeless, or lonely.
Exercise can help fight depression by promoting changes in the brain, such as neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that produce calm feelings and boost well-being. Exercise also releases endorphins that make you feel good and lift your spirits. What’s more, it distracts you from your negative thoughts.
Regular exercise can further reduce stress and improve negative self-evaluations, resulting in better sleep and enhanced self-esteem. This subsequently leads to lower levels of depression and once you’re feeling better, it could prevent you from relapsing.
Here are some exercises and their positive effect on depression:
As you can see, exercising can help you treat and prevent anxiety and depression, but how often do you need to exercise?
A general rule of thumb is to do moderate-intensity exercise (eg brisk walking) for 30 minutes or more a day, five days a week, or do high-intensity exercise (eg running) for at least 30 minutes a day, three days a week.
You don’t have to exercise for half an hour straight if you can’t or don’t want to. Instead, you can divide your exercise time; for example 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night, or you can do three 10-minute exercise sessions. As long as you’re disciplined with the actual exercise, you can choose workout timings that suit your schedule.
You can reap the health benefits of exercise if you stick with it over the long term, so make sure to do activities that you enjoy.
When you’re anxious or depressed, exercising becomes the last thing on your mind. But once you get motivated, exercise can help ease your symptoms. Here are some tips to help you start exercising and stay motivated:
Exercise is a great way to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. If you can stick to exercising for three to five days a week for as little as 30 minutes a day, you’ll be sure to reap the benefits. You’ll not only feel and look better, you’ll also get more out of life.
If you exercise on a regular basis but you believe symptoms are still having a negative affect, a visit to a mental health retreat could be perfect for you.
Palladium Private is a private mental health provider that tailors programs to their clients in order to facilitate their rehabilitation process. To find out more about how exercise can potentially decrease your chances of depression and anxiety, call 1300 573 095 or click here.
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