Those suffering from depression can find relief for some of their symptoms by adding exercise to their daily routines. If you are suffering from depression, use the motivational tips below to help you start and stay with an exercise program.
Just get started. When you are anxious or depressed, you just don’t feel like getting up and exercising. Once you start, however, you will start to feel better and are likely to continue with your activity.
Exercise to improve your health and your mood. The benefits of exercise are both emotional and physical. Regular exercise can alleviate or prevent health problems like arthritis, hypertension, and diabetes. Scientific studies have also demonstrated that exercise relieves anxiety and boosts your mood.
While the exact relationship between anxiety, depression and exercise is not well understood, regular workouts help you to relax and have a more positive outlook. In addition, once you feel better, a regular work out routine can keep anxiety and depression at bay.
How can exercise relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression?
Exercise probably works through a number of mechanisms to boost mood and calm anxiety.
Exercises releases neurotransmitters and endorphins. These chemicals contribute to a feeling of generalized well being. At the same time, physical activity slows the immune system’s production of chemicals that can contribute to depression.
In addition to its physiologic benefits, exercise can benefit you emotionally and psychologically. A regular workout routine can help you:
Have higher self esteem. When you stick to an exercise routine and overcome physical challenges, you feel better about yourself. Also, when you are exercising regularly, you are more physically fit, so you have more confidence in your appearance.
Get your thoughts off of your problems. Working out can distract you from your cares and worries. This will let you break the cycle of negativity that feeds your depression and anxiety.
Become more social. Exercising can be an opportunity to interact with others. Even something as simple as waving to a neighbor on a walk or stopping to chat with someone can improve your outlook.
Deal with your depression in a positive way. If you try to cope with your depression by turning to drugs or alcohol, by obsessing over your negative thoughts or by ignoring your feelings of anxiety and sadness, your symptoms will continue to get worse. Exercise, on the other hand, gives you a healthy outlet for coping with your anxiety and depression.
What form of exercise will help me?
You don’t need to run marathons or train for triathlons. Any increase in physical activity can help to improve your mood. Of course aerobics, spinning, weightlifting, sports and other traditional gym activities will work, but working in the garden, taking a walk through the neighborhood, tending the lawn, or bathing the dog can help too. Less intense activities are fine. The important thing is that you get out of bed or out of the recliner and move around. This is what will brighten your mood.
It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to do all of your exercise at one time. Incorporate more activity into your daily routine. Try parking at the back of the lot to increase the amount of walking you do. Take the stairs whenever you can. Think about riding a bike or walking to work or to the store.
How much exercise do you really need?
For a significant improvement in your symptoms, 30 minutes of physical activity per day, three to five days per week is best. If this sounds impossible, keep in mind, that even exercising for ten to fifteen minutes can help you feel better, especially if you do something to really get your heart pumping like biking or jogging.
What is the best way to get started and to stay committed?
Before you get started, consult your physician to make sure your exercise regimen is safe for you. Once you have your doctor’s okay, the best thing is just to get started. This, of course, is easier said than done. It’s true that getting yourself into an exercise routine and sticking with it can be tough. Here are some steps that can help.
- Choose something you like to do – Think about types of exercise that are appealing to you, and choose something you are most likely to actually do. Whether you like to garden, play games with your kids, ride your bike, play tennis,take dance classes or do some other activity, you need to choose something that makes you happy. If you look at exercise as a chore, you will be less likely to stick with your work outs.
- Get the backing of your doctor or therapist – Talk about your exercise program and ask for advice from winnipeg therapist. Enlist your mental health provider’s help in making exercise a part of your treatment plan.
- Have reasonable expectations – You don’t need to walk ten miles a day every day of the week. Think about what you can really do. Be honest with yourself. If you set unrealistic goals, you will set yourself up for failure, whereas if you take your lifestyle and present fitness level into account you will be much more likely to succeed.
- Exercise is not a job – If you make exercise a dreaded chore, you will dread it and beat yourself up if you can’t be perfect. Instead of thinking of it as something you have to do, think of exercise as a tool to beat your feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Deal with obstacles Think – about reasons you are not working out, and find ways to overcome them. For example, if working at a gym makes you self conscious, you can work out at home with videos or home fitness equipment. If you need more accountability, find a friend to be your workout buddy. Working out together will help keep both of you motivated. If money is a problem, do something for free like taking a walk. If you try, you can find a solution to the issues holding you back from working out. Also realize that you are going to have bad days, and there will be setbacks. Be kind to yourself. If you miss a workout, just pick up your routine the next day. You don’t need to be perfect.
Should I consult a physician?
Your doctor can advise you which activities are safe for you to perform. He or she can consider your overall condition, any medications you take and any problems you have, and tell you which activities and which intensities are best for you. Your doctor may also be a good source of support to keep you motivated.
If you are exercising regularly and your anxiety and depression still interfere with your routine, talk to your doctor. While exercise has many benefits, it is not a substitute for appropriate medical treatment.