Struggling with depression can majorly impact our daily lives. There are many ways to combat depression; medication, diet, and exercise are some of the most common methods. Finding the right medication and eating a balanced diet can drastically improve your well-being, and exercise is equally important.
Often, people who exercise regularly do it simply because it makes them feel good. Exercise can boost your mood, concentration, and alertness. It can even help give you a positive outlook on life.
The link between exercise and mental health is complicated. Inactivity can be both a cause and a consequence of mental illness, for example. But there are lots of ways that exercise can benefit your mental health. Read on to learn about some mental health benefits of exercise.
- The levels of chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, stress hormones, and endorphins, change when you exercise, leading to feelings of happiness and mood stability.
- Regular exercise can help you sleep better, which in turn increases your energy levels and helps you manage your mood.
- Exercise can improve your sense of control, coping ability, and self-esteem. People who exercise regularly often report how good achieving a goal makes them feel.
- Exercise can distract you from negative thoughts, serve as an outlet for anger or frustration, and provide opportunities to try new experiences.
- Exercising with others offers an opportunity to get out of the house, socialize and build a social support system.
- Exercise can reduce skeletal muscle tension, which helps you feel more relaxed.
Exercising for your mental health
If regular exercise is not already a part of your routine, you might be wondering how much you need to do to give your mental health a boost.
The good news is exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous or take a long time. Studies show low or moderate-intensity exercise is enough to make a difference in terms of your mood and thinking patterns. Remember: any exercise is better than none. Going for a leisurely walk or participating in activities like stretching and yoga can also have huge benefits on your mind and body. Even doing housework like sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming can give you a mild workout.
Many experts recommend that adults should be active most days, aiming for a total of 2.5-5 hours of moderate physical activity per week, such as a brisk walk or swimming. Alternatively, getting 1.25-2.5 hours of vigorous physical activity per week is a great idea, such as jogging, fast cycling, or a participating in a team sport. Or you can combine both moderate and vigorous activities.
How to get started with exercise
It can be intimidating to start exercising if you are new to it or haven’t done it in a while but creating a plan can help you start and stick with it.
Your new exercise plan has a better chance of success if you:
- choose an activity you like, or have enjoyed in the past, that suits your fitness levels and abilities.
- start small – build up your activity gradually. Ideally, vary your activities so you don’t get bored.
- write your plan in your diary or on your calendar, so it’s part of your schedule.
- regularly revisit your exercise plans and try something different if it’s not working out for you.
Pharmasite is now enrolling individuals for a clinical study addressing depression. There is hope and help and you can partner with Pharmasite in your journey through depression.