Exercise is the great elixir. Fountain of youth and mood enhancer. For those that need proof, countless scientific reports show that exercise helps those with diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis. Ditto for anxiety, depression.
It doesn’t matter what you do – it’s moving that matters. Bike. Hike. Garden. Lift weights. Jump rope. Dance. Wash the car. If you’re in Chicago, you can join me for Pilates, Yoga, and Zumba.
Even more good news is that exercise may also help keep anxiety and depression from coming back once you’re feeling better. According the experts at the Mayo clinic, the benefits are many.
How exercise helps:
- Releases feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters and endorphins)
- Reduces immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
- Increases body temperature, which may have calming effects
- Boosts confidence. Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance.
- Takes your mind off worries. Exercise is a distraction that can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.
- Improves social interaction. Exercise may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighborhood can help your mood.
- Helps you Cope in a healthy way. Doing something positive to manage anxiety or depression is a healthy coping strategy. Trying to feel better by drinking alcohol, dwelling on how badly you feel, or hoping anxiety or depression will go away on its own can lead to worsening symptom
While exercise can make you look better, the most significant benefit is that you will feel better for having done it. Just move!