The Healing Effects of Exercise
Depression is a serious condition that impacts every aspect of our lives, and can quickly consume all of our thoughts, feelings, and actions. When we experience symptoms of depression, it can often feel like there is no way out.
Even though it can seem as though there is nothing you can do to escape these feelings, you hold the key to change.
The majority of people experience feelings of anxiety, worthlessness, and depression when they internalize the negativity around them. It is important to recognize that you have no control over the disapproval of others, and that the only thing you can control is how you respond to the bad situations or negative comments you encounter.
However, when you begin to feel sad, it can be easy to forget your unique ability to determine your own value.
Exercise is an excellent tool to use when you begin to experience symptoms of depression. Exercise has a number of important health benefits that help reduce anxiety and repair your mindset.
Below are 4 critical ways that exercise supports a healthy mentality and alleviates depression.
Exercise releases endorphins.
Aerobic and cardio exercises help fight depression by releasing endorphins in the brain that produce feelings of happiness and joy. Endorphins trigger positive feelings that are often referred to as a “runner’s high.” Running or walking are both examples of cardio activity that improve blood flow and increase oxygen to the brain. When you move your body, you encourage positivity and boost both your mental and physical energy.
Exercise encourages you to go outside.
Exercise does not need to be strenuous to be helpful. One common symptom of depression is the desire to remain sedentary – simple tasks feel pointless, and excess stimulation becomes overwhelming. As a result, sufferers often choose to stay inside. Doing simple activities, like going for a walk or gardening, can help boost your mood by encouraging you to go outdoors in a more manageable way. Getting outside disrupts your routine in a positive way and slowly emboldens you to increase your level of activity. Additionally, sunlight and movement stimulate levels of serotonin (the happiness neurotransmitter), which also help reduce symptoms of depression.
Exercise improves mindfulness.
Exercise has antidepressant effects by encouraging mindfulness and breaking up repetitive negative thinking. For example, yoga encourages you to develop a deeper connection between your mind and body and contains a helpful meditative component. During yoga, your focus returns inward and you’re reminded that you have the ability and the strength to control your thoughts and your attitude.
Exercise improves your self-esteem.
Low self-esteem is a common cause of depression. People who suffer from depression blame themselves for the negativity around them, and often believe that if they looked or acted differently they could have earned the approval of others. Exercise makes your heart, muscles, and bones strong and gives you a sense of personal accomplishment. In doing so, exercise has the ability to influence your attitude, boost your self-esteem, and allow you to view yourself in more a positive light. When your attitude shifts your emotions will follow.