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Exercise and improve your mental health October 12, 2008

Posted by Richard E. Ward in Mental Health.
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We’ve all heard someone say how much better they feel when they exercise. I know that I always feel better when I exercise daily.

Many studies and personal anecdotes show us the benefits of exercise are many and include:

  • feeling better about ourselves,
  • losing weight,
  • sleeping better, and
  • being able to eat more are often mentioned.

We are also more than likely equally familiar with the reasons we cannot or do not exercise; such as, not having enough time, it’s too expensive to join a gym, or it’s boring.

Clinical research and anecdotal reports extol the virtues of exercise in both physiological and psychological arenas.

Exercise can help

Exercise can help:

  • Reduce your risk of heart problems
  • Reduce your risk of some cancers and other illnesses
  • Decrease symptoms of anxiety
  • Decrease stress
  • Decrease symptoms of depression
  • Elevate mood

  • Improve self-esteem
  • Increase feelings of well-being – psychological and
    physical

How does exercise make us feel better?

Endorphins, our natural opiates, may account, in part, for the elevated mood experienced after exercise. This is often referred to as the “runner’s high”.

Distraction helps

Another mechanism that may contribute to feeling better after exercising is being distracted. We often temporarily forget about our stressors as we focus on and accomplish our exercise routine.
This distraction may allow us to return to life with a fresh perspective.

We are all busy, especially if have kids. For too many of us limited time and money are realities. Don’t despair – there are ways to work around these obstacles. And the
benefits will outweigh the costs – of course!! Here are some ideas:

  • Buy hand weights or dumbbells at reasonable prices
  • Walk around your neighborhood or up the stairs at
    work or school

30 minutes a day

Even 30 minutes a day, can benefit you.

Use your mental downtime to your advantage by exercising during this
time rather than snacking or watching TV. By-the-way extensive Research shows that moderate exercise will give you more of an energy boost than eating junk food or being a couch potato.

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