Fitness Friday: Exercise for Mental Health

Exercise, A Prescription for your Mind, Body and Soul

According to Newton’s First Law, A body in motion stays in motion.

Applied psychology and science has provided evidence that physical activity can improve emotional and mental health. At the Center for Balanced Living in Ohio, counseling and sport psychologist Jennifer Carter has some of her patients walk and talk during their sessions in order to stimulate relaxed thought processes and encourage open discussion.

Many Lifestyle Medicine and Holistic Practitioners are actually prescribing exercise for mental health-related conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, ADHD and even trauma-related disorders like PTSD. According to a 2004 study on the effects of exercise on anxiety, depression and mood, “aerobic exercises, including jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, gardening and dancing, have been proven to reduce anxiety and depression.” Moreover, a national survey conducted by the CDC reports that in 2010, 32% of adult patients revealed being told to exercise by a doctor.

 

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Exercise has formally been proven to have numerous benefits for the mind, body and soul including:

 

  • Improved heart health
  • Decreased muscular tension
  • Lessened mental and emotional stress
  • Enhanced memory and thinking skills
  • Reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Increased creativity and production
  • Heightened self-esteem and self-efficacy

 

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Though not limited to just the above positive links of exercise to one’s mental and emotional health, it can still be very tricky getting in activity with limited time and overwhelming responsibilities. So here are a few tips and tricks to get your exercise in during your day:

Pencil in your exercise.

If you know that you can wake up early to go for a jog or hit that aerobics class on the way home at the gym, then go ahead and mark it on your calendar. Studies show that when you make plans to do something, you are more inclined to see it through.

Set your alarm.

Every hour on the hour, get up and move for at least five minutes. Set your alarm to take a stroll around the building or up the stairs or do a quick round of body resistance exercises at your desk.

Fit it in when you can get it in.

Some days are full of obstacles that get in the way to getting in regular physical activity. So try things like taking the stairs at work, parking as far away from the store when you are running errands or even walking or biking to and from work if you live close enough.

Accountability is a must.

Sometimes, the biggest obstacle you have is actually doing the exercise. Buy some personal training sessions at the gym, join a fitness challenge with some friends or commit to a group fitness instructor that you will attend a class.

Make it fun.

Exercise often has a negative connotation for those who do not enjoy it. Instead of letting it be something miserable, make it fun! Try joining a sports team,  playing with your pets or kids outside or adopting a hobby that requires you to get moving!

 

 

We are here to help! If you’re ready for support or information to help you get moving and condition your mental, emotional and physical health, feel free to drop us an email or give us a call at 877-293-9355 ext. 0! 

 

 

– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC

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