Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Exercising with Anxiety and Depression: Runner’s high – it isn’t just for athletes!

I am sure everyone is enjoying the winter-time and the sweets that come with it, maybe thinking in the back of their minds about the looming "New Year's Resolutions" some of us make. One of the most common resolutions is to get healthier, eat better or start an exercise program. Well I have some good reasons why to jump on the bandwagon before it even gets rolling. Get a jump-start on 2014 by starting today! Not only does exercise help keep you physically fit and healthy, it also helps to maintain mental health.

When people visit their doctor complaining of fatigue, general malaise and high tension they are often handed a prescription for medication and an appointment with a local psychotherapist. Not all* mental health issues need to be handled this way, however; there is a third alternative: Exercise!

As a preferable coping method alternative to drugs and alcohol, exercise contributes positively to mental health and helps to elevate moods and release tension when coping with depression and anxiety.

Question: Should I start with a full workout program right away or ease into it slowly?

You know your body best, and your personality as well. If you are the type that gets excited by new activities then speak with a local gym or community centre about classes and programs or personal trainers to help get you started.
If you are less inclined to publicize your goals, start small and local: run around your neighbourhood, lift weights (or substitutes) in the comfort of your own home.

Resistance bands are always an excellent choice to do in-home workouts. Also another great option are ankle or wrist weights. Both of these options fit in most storage spaces.

If you have chronic depression, the novelty of exercise may seem exhausting, but keep pressing yourself each day to do more – do not feel upset if you can’t do as much as someone else, you are on your own healing journey.

If you have anxiety, you will likely find that a brisk run, or a completing good set of heavy weights helps to release tension. You will feel renewed and rejuvenated after a great workout! Plus, these achievements will help increase your self-confidence.

Another added benefit of exercising outdoors or at a community centre: you will meet new people, make new friends and increase your social circle. This support network will help boost your self-esteem and keep you active and engaged in your community.

By starting an exercise regime you will be committing yourself to your health and wellness, both physically and mentally. Exercising regularly will help you sleep better (which helps you conquer depression and anxiety), lift your mood with endorphins and feel-good brain chemicals and contributes to an overall better sense of life satisfaction.

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*ensure you seek proper medical guidance regarding the best course of action for your situation