I was on the elliptical doing one of Michael Wood’s latest Winter cardio programs (loving them!) and he brought up the topic of exercise and mental health, mentioning his colleague, Dr. Michael Otto, PhD., who is a researcher doing great work in this area. It is so interesting and can help so many. That audio has inspired me to revisit this blog post on the subject. Hope you enjoy!
Here’s another reason to feel great about your visits to Koko FitClub. It’s long been a commonly held belief that mood is elevated by exercise. Anecdotal evidence from my own life sure supports it. Juggling work and family commitments can leave me feeling frazzled at times, but Smartraining sessions always help me regroup. It’s 30, uninterrupted minutes of MY time. So, I was interested to see a handful of recent articles touting research that supports our intuition. Psychologists are actually “prescribing” exercise as a good intervention and treatment for people with mild to moderate depression and anxiety.
My further research into the subject has led me to some fascinating findings, here are a couple you may not have heard before:
- The immediate mood boost we have come to know as the “runners high” is actually followed by longer term relief for depression and anxiety, not unlike the relief gained from medications and therapy.
- Exercise battles anxiety and depression better than relaxation techniques or meditation.
- Researchers think exercise is an effective stress buster because it trains our bodies’ physiological systems to communicate and work in concert more effectively during stressful situations, which in turn raises our bodies’ threshold for stress response. (In other words, exercise is “stress practice” so your body doesn’t respond to stress with the symptoms of anxiety and depression as easily.)
- Exercise works fast, in 25 to 30 minutes, to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression. In contrast, the therapeutic benefits of medication often take weeks to kick in.
If you’d like to read more about it, here are some worthwhile online articles:
Here’s to feeling better every day!