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Depression and Exercise

Depression and exercise? Do these two things even go together? Well, yes they do.  Quite well in fact.

When you're depressed the last thing you want to do is exercise.

Luckily, the emotional benefits of exercise go beyond burning fat and building lean muscle.

Every time you engage in heart pumping exercise, your brain releases feel-good chemicals like norepinephrine, serotonin, and endorphins. 

Endorphins bind to receptors in the brain to heighten feelings of euphoria and lessen your perception of pain.
 


The Emotional Benefits of Exercise
The Emotional Benefits of Exercise

Image Credit: Canva


For Depression:

Exercise is a great distraction that allows you to escape from chronic worry and negative thoughts that feed depression.

For Anxiety:

Exercise is a great anxiety fighter because it helps relieve tension and stress that would otherwise fester and develop into panic and even depression.  Yes, there is a link between stress and depression. Read more here.

For PTSD:

Being physically active reduces immobilization associated with post traumatic stress disorder.  

What the heck is immobilization?

Immobilization is what can happen to your body after a trauma.  Mentally you're still on high alert, and always looking out for danger, even though the danger has passed. 

Other Physical and Emotional Benefits of Exercise

Self-Esteem Booster

Regular exercise helps to improve your self-esteem.  Even achieving small fitness goals provides a huge confidence booster and heightens your feelings of accomplishment.

Sharper Thinking

Regular physical activity sharpens your mind by improving focus and concentration, two things impacted by anxiety and depression.

Oh, and by the way, exercise can help you  grow new brain cells  and improve memory. Imagine that.

Makes You More Resilient

As it turns out, the  same feel good chemicals, that improve  mood and reduce stress, also sets you up to better cope with the emotional challenges that life throws your way.

Don't Know Where To Begin?

If you're new to exercise it's a good idea to start slow.

For example, you can start off by walking for ten minutes a day.  Then increase your time by 5 minutes each day.

Walking not your thing?  How about a short jog around your block? 

Go to a Zumba class, do some kickboxing, do jumping jacks, put on your favorite music and dance your butt off. 

It doesn’t matter what you choose to do, but try to get 20-30 minutes of physical activity at least 3-5 times a week.

Just so you know, exercising in 10-minute blocks throughout the day delivers the same benefits as working out for 20 or 30 minutes non-stop.

Remember to consult your doctor before beginning any exercise routine.

Still not sure where to start?  Maybe this list will inspire you.

•Hiking
•Low-impact aerobics
•Swimming
•Jumping Rope
•Jogging at a moderate pace
•Biking
•Yoga

Enjoy house cleaning and yard work? If so, you'll be interested in how many calories you can burn by doing chores around the house.

Take a look at this:

Sweeping/Mopping      burns up to 240 calories  per hour

Mowing the lawn         burns up to 325 calories per hour

Shoveling snow           burns up to 425 calories per hour

Painting your house     burns up to 290 calories per hour

Gardening can be very soothing because it allows you to connect with the earth. Plus, gardening burns up to 250 calories an hour.

Like I said, it doesn’t matter what you do. Just do something. 

Move your body!

My Exercise Favs

I always feel energized, calmer and more centered after a workout, especially when I do yoga.  If I'm short on time, I'll just work out for 10 to 15 minutes.  

There's no shame in that.

Try the following workouts to calm and uplift you.


Jessica Smith TV
1-Mile Walk n' Talk: Gratitude + Goals - Walk at home + motivation


Try this great dance workout video. It's fun, gets your blood flowing and teaches you some amazing dance moves!

Here's another AMAZING dance workout video!  


 Yoga With Adriene: Yoga For Anxiety and Stress

This video features alternate nostril breathing, a powerful and effective breathing technique for battling anxiety and stress. 

If this yoga video is too advanced for you, the Yoga with Adriene YouTube Channel has beginner yoga videos.


Depression and Exercise: Additional Resources

Guide to Physical Activity – Use this site for creative workout ideas you wouldn't think of as exercise.

Exercise: How to Get Started – This site gives you a good general overview of exercise basics.   

Fitness Basics – Designed to help you overcome barriers, suggestions on creative ways to exercise, and measuring your heart rate.


I hope this article helps you on your journey to better mental health!

Brighter skies are ahead,




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›Depression and Exercise



Week 1

This first installment focuses on the link between exercise, diet and good mental health.

Week 2

I'll talk about the importance of using relaxation techniques to lift your mood and calm your nerves, which in turn improves mental health. 

Week 3

This week all about using self-esteem to improve mental health and overall well-being. 

Week 4

This final week presents ways to reduce social media usage. Studies show that over consumption of social media contributes to anxiety and depression.

Click here to start this free e-course!




Week 1

This first installment focuses on the link between exercise, diet and good mental health.

Week 2

I'll talk about the importance of using relaxation techniques to lift your mood and calm your nerves, which in turn improves mental health. 

Week 3

This week all about using self-esteem to improve mental health and overall well-being. 

Week 4

This final week presents ways to reduce social media usage. Studies show that over consumption of social media contributes to anxiety and depression.

Click here to start this free e-course!