Posts Tagged ‘Exercise’

South Denver Psychotherapy: The Importance of Sleep, Diet, and Exercise: Part 1: Exercise.

There are those who have had a certain proclivity towards anxiety or depression from a very young age, and is something they must work with in their day to day—no matter how “good” things in their life may seem. In other cases, the effect of depression or anxiety can be more acute or situational.

Whatever the case may be—there are things one can do to mitigate the severity of the symptoms that may accompany these physiological imbalances. Of the many things one can do, sleep, diet and exercise are incredibly important in the balancing of mood.

This particular blog is part 1 of a 3-part series, and will focus on exercise.

The Benefits of Exercise

The movement and circulation alone will improve your mental state, and depending on how much exercise you can commit to each day/week, the aerobic effects as well as the endorphins will elevate your mood on a regular basis. Ideally, at least 3-4 times per week will make this type of routine most effective and balancing.

Frequency and Intensity

Exercise does not have to mean becoming an ultra-marathoner or creating an exercise routine that turns your daily schedule upside down—it can be something as simple as a 1-3 mile walk, a 30-minute jog, a 45-minute hike if you have nice hikes nearby, or a bike ride for 20-30 minutes (though if you can do more, great!) Ideally, while starting a new exercise routine can be a challenge at first, it should be something you can/will enjoy—if not at first, then, eventually.

Setting Realistic Goals

Regardless of how much you wind up exercising, start with a goal that is do-able, so you will be sure to stick with it. And of course, it needs to fit in with your other obligations like work etc—so, find a way to fit this into your daily routine. If you find yourself saying “but I don’t have time”, you may be surprised—often taking the break to exercise will make you more productive and less stressed in the other things that you have to do that day, thus it can be a time saver in the end. Or, if it means waking up a bit earlier to fit your exercise in—you may find that while it can be challenging to wake up earlier than usual, that inevitably your day will be better, and you will be glad you did, feeling more awake, alert and calm.

Balance is important

While exercising every day can have great benefit, be sure to always give yourself at least one rest day per week, if not two. Ideally, exercise should be an enhancement to your day to day, and not something to create more stress for you.

Also, tune in with your body and make sure you are not overdoing it. There is a fine line between pushing past your comfort zone and pushing yourself too hard. All the while, be gentle with yourself even if pushing yourself in a new routine.

As we have already mentioned in this mental health care blog, exercise is just one of many ways to work with balancing your mental health. There is no one action of self-care that will “solve” all of your problems—you can perfect your diet, increase your daily exercise, and be getting plenty of sleep—and still struggle immensely.

It may be that counseling is a support that may be needed in addition to these other elements of improved body health. And, if this is the case—South Denver Psychotherapy is here to support you. South Denver Psychotherapy offers counseling for women, counseling for men, relationship communication issues, teen counseling services, and more. Call South Denver Psychotherapy today to schedule an appointment, or check out our website for more information.

Just Get Out the Door: Connecting Exercise and Mood

When you think exercise, what comes to mind? Physical fitness? Hard work? Silly shorts? Exercise can be all of these things and more. But what if we told you that exercise might also mean a healthier mind?

According to a number of scientific studies, your New Year’s Resolution might be worth sticking to. Exercise doesn’t just mean sweat—according to these studies, it has been linked to an improvement of symptoms of depression and anxiety. It doesn’t matter if you’re going for a run or just doing some yoga: both aerobic and anaerobic exercise seem to help address symptoms.

Theories abound on why exercise and mental health are linked, from the psychological to the neurochemical. Several beneficial psychological and sociological elements fit under the physical fitness umbrella, such as distracting oneself from negative stimuli—leaving work- or relationship-related stress behind, for example—and the feeling of accomplishment and efficacy that comes from reaching your fitness goals. Likewise, often times there is a social structure of support and camaraderie that comes from exercise: if you have a workout group or buddy, you’re more likely to receive support that you might not otherwise get.

These boosts to self-esteem that come from the psychological benefits of exercise often address a great range of symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, there seem to be physiological benefits, too: according to some hypotheses, exercise can affect the release of helpful neurochemicals. For example, according to one study, exercise can “increase the synaptic transmission of monomines.” While this may sound like a chapter in a psychology textbook, that information is exciting news: it turns out, that is the same function found in a range of antidepressant medications. In a similar vein, exercise has been observed to release endorphins, and while the connection between endorphins and exercise requires more study, there is a promising body of evidence to suggest that working out can give you the neurochemical dump you need to counteract some symptoms of depression and anxiety.

It is important to note that there are studies indicating that exercising may not be a catch-all solution to your mental health symptoms. Experimentally speaking, many gaps remain in the data that has been thus far collected—as with many other psychological and medical issues, modern technology has opened a huge range of options for exploration on these subjects.

On the other hand, however, exercise affects many different parts of your life. Several elements of physical activity seem to have complimentary effects, including distracting yourself from fixating on issues, and feeling better about your physical well-being. So, next time you’re feeling stuck, getting depressed, or feeling anxious, maybe it’s time to take a walk or do some push-ups. After all, mental health concerns your whole body, not just your mind.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call South Denver Psychotherapy at 303-730-1144, or visit our website for more information on how we can help you rediscover your authentic self.