Saturday, May 19, 2012

Concerned Bloggers: Exercise and Depression/Anxiety

When I've had a really bad day, I grab my iPod, plug my headphones in and I hit the ground running.  Literally.  I can go anywhere from 3 to 7 miles - depending on how much energy I have.

And when I'm done?  I feel light years better.  My head is clearer..I don't feel as overwhelmed - the running helps keep me sane.

According to the Mayo Clinic (, the links between anxiety, depression and exercise aren't entirely clear — but working out can definitely help you relax and make you feel better. Exercise may also help keep anxiety and depression from coming back once you're feeling better.

Exercise probably helps ease depression in a number of ways, which may include:
  • Releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters and endorphins)
  • Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
  • Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects

Doing 30 minutes or more of exercise a day for three to five days a week can significantly improve depression symptoms. But smaller amounts of activity — as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time — can make a difference. It may take less time exercising to improve your mood when you do more-vigorous activities, such as running or bicycling.

The mental health benefits of exercise may last only if you stick with it over the long term — another good reason to focus on finding activities you enjoy.

Note sure of what you like?  Well, there are so many options!

Running, strength training, yoga, dance..those are just SOME of the many different types of exercise that you can do on your own or in a class!

Of course before you begin anything, talk to your doctor or other mental health provider for guidance and support. Discuss concerns about an exercise program and how it fits into your overall treatment plan.

And if you already exercise regularly but anxiety or depression symptoms still interfere with your daily living, see your doctor or other mental health provider. Exercise is a great way to ease symptoms of anxiety or depression, but it isn't a substitute for psychotherapy or medications.

As always, sending lots of love and light your way.  :)



Circle chart picture borrowed from

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