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Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
Most people who suffer from a mental health issue do not realize the benefits that exercise can provide. The most common types of mental health diseases that we see are depression and anxiety and exercise is especially beneficial for these two conditions.
Whether the person is experiencing depression and anxiety that is temporary due to a loss of any type or an upcoming event that makes the individual anxious to the point of developing a state of near constant anxiety, exercise can help. In addition to chronic depression or generalized anxiety and panic attack disorder, exercise offers many benefits to the individual.
The first thing the individual must do, especially if depression is the mental health issue they are dealing with, is find a way to become motivated to exercise.
Benefits of Exercise
Exercise can be as simple as walking or as strenuous as any hour-long intense workout at a fitness club. Either way your mind will be temporarily distracted from the cause of your depression or anxiety.
The main benefits of exercise include the following
- Exercise increases a person’s body temperature, in return it provides a calming effect, just like soaking in a hot bubble bath before bed, it calms the mind and allows for a good night’s sleep.
- There are specific chemicals in the immune system that can increase depression and anxiety. Exercise has been identified as a way to reduce those chemicals without reducing the positive effects they have on your immune system.
- Exercise releases chemicals in the brain that are said to help with depression.
Exercise has other psychological benefits as well for those suffering from a mental health disorder. It can help improve self-esteem. If you have a walking buddy, you can talk and take your mind off the things that are depressing you or causing you anxiety. In addition, maybe your walking buddy is someone who is willing to listen to your problems and even offer solutions.
Exercise also reduces stress and produces the happy hormone known as norepinephrine, which can reduce your stress levels, depression and anxiety.
There are several types of exercises that you can participate in. Many people do not like to exercise while some do it anyway; a lot of people do not. If you are one of the people who choses not to exercise, you need to change your mind set about exercise. Once you have a positive attitude about it, it will be easier to do and you may even come to enjoy it like all the people who do enjoy exercising.
Exercising can be anything from an aerobics video done in your living room, walking, a 30-minute exercise routine at the gym, or working with a personal trainer.
If you are going to walk then try to find someone to walk with you it is usually more enjoyable to walk with someone than alone.
If you have a treadmill or stationary bike in your home, face it towards the TV and your workout will be over before you know it
You will be amazed at how much better you feel mentally with just 30 minutes of exercise three to four days a week.
Tammy Mahan has worked in the healthcare field for over 20 years. She often shares her knowledge with Healthline.com.