We are a stressed society. People are stretched thin with the demands on their time and attention and it is leaving many with anxiety and depression. Coping with both of these mental illnesses can greatly disrupt one’s ability to function effectively at work and home. It can also be very debilitating for someone in recovery for drugs or alcohol. Learning to recognize disruptive thoughts and feelings and understanding how to reduce stress are important life skills. While some circumstances of anxiety or depression may require psychiatric care, exercise is a great self-care tool to incorporate into your treatment. One of the best things for the nervous system and brain is regular exercise.
Exercise Releases Tension
Whether you lift weights, go for a brisk walk, or dance, most forms of exercise release tension in the body. This is due in part to increase in blood flow to the muscles. Another reason exercise releases tension is that it increases oxygen levels throughout the body and brain. Reduction of stress is one of the benefits. Just 5 minutes a day of aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem.
Exercise increases recovery
Drug or alcohol recovery may cause one to experience diminished ability to feel pleasure, depending on the substance. This is known as anhedonia, and it can contribute to relapse. While working towards recovery, exercise can help boost a person’s mood. Ultimately helping them to achieve and maintain sobriety.
Exercise Releases Important Chemicals
One cause for depression is when a person’s body does not produce enough of the chemicals needed by the brain to feel good. Exercise helps the body release serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter believed to be responsible for mood, appetite, memory, sleep, and sexual desire. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for allowing us to feel pleasure, reward and motivation. Exercise helps you produce more of serotonin naturally, but without the side effects of medication. It's true, lifting weights can release chemicals that increase the brain's ability to feel good; however, strenuous cardio workouts will give you the best results when it comes to endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin.
Exercise Regularly to See Results
It is possible to see immediate improvement with your anxiety and depression after one workout. It is more likely that you will have sustained mental health if you make working out part of your weekly routine. Most studies show you can see a change in your mental health by doing cardio workouts anywhere from three to five times a week. The important thing is to make a plan that you can follow through on. If you can only go a few times a week, spread it out over the seven days to get more even results.
Adding a regular exercise routine to your already busy life can seem like a major challenge, but the benefits are worth the sacrifice. You'll feel happier and less stressed out, and you'll be more likely to manage the stressful situations you encounter on a regular basis. MidValley Healthcare’s counselors work with clients to teach mindfulness and Interpersonal therapy. We help clients to achieve a happier healthier life.