Exercise can ease depression or anxiety by giving you a mood boost, a feeling of control and/or serving as a complement to prescriptions. Here’s how:
Exercise provides a distraction from troubling thoughts. When your mind is racing it can feel like you are trapped in a painful thought spiral. Getting active can interrupt this spiral by shifting your focus from your mind to your body in motion.
Exercise gives you a feeling of accomplishment. Many things that happen throughout the day feel like they are beyond our control. Deciding to head for the gym or for a walk around the block provides a positive focus with immediate positive feedback. You benefit from pride in making and keeping a promise to yourself as well as the mood boost of being active.
A Harvard Health Publications article titled, Exercise and Depression asserts that regular exercise improves mood in people with mild to moderate depression. Researchers believe this is because exercise releases endorphins, chemicals that impart a feel good effect as they course through the body. You may be able to reduce symptoms of depression with just a 35 minute walk, 5 days a week.
Exercise may also offer some people alternative or complementary options for managing anxiety and insomnia.
If you are looking for a fun way to boost mood, banish depression and ease anxiety, exercise is it. Countless studies have shown that exercise is like medicine. Use it as your personal prescription to not only look your best but to feel your best, too.