Exercise is good for our muscles and bones… I bet you’ve heard that! But did you know it’s also effective in dealing with anxiety, depression, stress, and more? Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a difference.
Exercise can combat depression by releasing “feel good” chemicals, such as endorphins and serotonin. Regular exercise also helps by normalizing sleep, improving energy levels throughout the day and a more relaxed and positive self-image of yourself and your life. Sometimes simply getting your body moving can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression. These short-term effects are useful, but the real value lies in the impact that exercise can have in the long term.
Remember, the most important thing is to look ahead.
If that seems intimidating, don’t despair. Even a few minutes of physical activity are better than none at all. Start where you are or wherever you feel most comfortable. Find a mode of exercise that you enjoy and want to sustain in the long term. Studies suggest that the focus should be on frequency i.e. 10 minutes daily of exercise rather than duration or intensity until behaviour change is well established.