Exercising is often thought of as a way to stay physically healthy. Many people exercise to lose or control weight, increase their heart health, fight off diseases like diabetes, and to improve their appearance. We all accept that exercise is generally good for our physical health but can exercise help with our mental health?
If you suffer from anxiety or are experiencing a lot of stress, regular exercise can be more helpful than you might imagine. Many people who are experiencing extreme stress find themselves exhausted. Exercise can actually help you sleep better so you might find you have more energy and are less fatigued during the day..
Exercising produces endorphins which are chemicals that affect the brain. You have likely heard that by increasing the endorphins in your body you may feel more relaxed and can concentrate better.
When you exercise, there are other positive results that can reduce anxiety and stress. Your body will become stronger or you may lose weight which may lead to an improved self-image and better self-esteem. Your overall mood may be lighter, and you may feel more positive and capable of handling the things that are causing you to be anxious or stressed.
Do I have to attend a gym?
Taking a walk or a swim can be as useful as working out at a gym. If you enjoy working out with other people, taking yoga or Tai Chi can be great stress-reducing exercises. Aerobic exercises are highly recommended and even 10 minutes a day of any of aerobic activities can greatly improve your mood and reduce your stress. Jogging, riding a bike, or even dancing are all forms of exercise too. Finding a partner to run, bike or dance with can help you stay on the path and keep you accountable for consistent exercising.
What if I suffer from depression?
Even if you suffer from an anxiety disorder or some form of depression, exercise can be helpful, but consistency is important. Walking, swimming, working out at the gym is something that should become part of your regular routine. One walk will not cure depression or end anxiety. Life is full of stressful situations, but if you include regular exercise in your plans, you may experience more relief from the stressors of life.
However, if you suffer from depression and anxiety, you should be working with a licensed mental health professional to create an entire plan that will help you manage your condition. You may still need some form of medication but adding regular exercise into your treatment plan will likely be suggested especially if you lead a more sedentary life. Many of us sit at a desk all day long and don’t get any kind of exercise at all. This can only make it more difficult to get moving and get those endorphins on the rise. There are no guarantees that exercise will help with mental health. Results vary from great improvement to nearly none but regardless, the benefits physically will always exist, and the possibility of elevated moods, better sleep, improved self-image, and stress relief make giving regular exercise something worth trying. It may take a little while to get in the habit and you may not see much of a change at first but stick with it and you may be pleasantly surprised at how you feel.
Regardless, if you are feeling anxious or depressed or if you are under an undue amount of stress, reach out to seek help from a licensed professional. Don’t go it alone. Help is available. Please reach out to us at Advantage Mental Health Center (https://advantagementalhealthcenter.com/) servicing Tampa Bay, FL.
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