One of the most holistic solutions within our control for managing & reducing depression & anxiety is exercise. A new study published in a recent Forbes article states “…research analysis suggests that moderate aerobic exercise may be one of the most effective approaches available for treating major depression. It’s the latest in a convincing docket of research showing that exercise, perhaps more than any other single method, can serve as a curb against a tenacious condition that affects millions, with tens of thousands of new patient added every year.”
Wow – exercise helps “more than any other single method”! Participants in the referenced study did about 45 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise three times a week for a little over nine weeks. The types of exercises included walking, biking, swimming and jogging & team sports. The results showed “a large and significant antidepressant effect from aerobic exercise on par with or even surpassing typical results for antidepressant medications.”
Best results were achieved with about 45 minutes a workout session, three to five times per week. Measured health benefits of regular exercise – strengthened mental, physical, emotional, social, personal & professional health & functioning:
Sounds great, right, sign me up…but where do we get started if we’re not already physically active but believe in the benefits of doing so? A few tips to help get started…
- Make your health a priority. Find the time to work out. Start small & don’t quit. Put it on the calendar & challenge the reasons why you don’t want to follow through.
- Dig deep on your motivation for wanting to exercise more – why specifically is it that you want to make this time for your health & prioritize your self-care? How will your life be improved?
- Little things make a big difference. Just get started doing something, somehow, someway more days than not.
- Set short & long term goals & take things one day at a time. One daily push-up is better than none!
- Buddy up! Find a personal or professional partner to help motivate you & keep you accountable to staying committed to a regular workout routine. An added benefit to exercising with a partner is social interaction which is also a very holistic way to help manage stress & treat anxiety & depression.
- Be kind to yourself & enjoy the journey. Breathe – meditate – stretch…get outside & enjoy life & nature if you can.
- Do what you can, when you can, how you can. Meet yourself where you are at each & every day & if nothing else just do one small thing to be happy & healthy & care for your mind, body & soul today.
Lori Corrigan, MA, LCPC – Foundations Owner & Clinical Counselor – Lori@FoundationsCounselingCenter.org