Your body and mind are more intertwined than people think. Your physical health can impact your mental health and vice versa. This link though means that if you suffer from depression or anxiety working out can play a vital role in managing your symptoms. Taking care of yourself helps the whole system. Ask your psychiatrist first, but most doctors encourage patients to incorporate some form of exercise in their life. Research suggests that the following activities in particular help in alleviating the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Look, running isn’t for everyone, myself included. But it really is one of the best exercises for your overall health, including mental health. It can burn calories, reduce food cravings, and lower your risk of heart disease. It also improves mood though. Running releases those feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain like serotonin. The repetitive motion and breathing also have a sort of meditative effect on the brain.
If running doesn’t appeal to you, consider hiking. Being around nature has a calming effect on the mind. There is tons of evidence that being around plants and trees reduces anxiety due to chemicals plants emit. If you live in the city, escaping that bustle and slowing down in nature could be just what you need to lower your anxiety.
Yoga is one of the best exercises for depression and anxiety, not to mention other mental disorders. Yoga connects the mind and body together through breathing. So yes you’ll become more flexible, more stretched out, and gain some strength but more importantly, the conscious breathing will slow down and calm your mind.
There’s a reason your doctors tell you to use exercise to manage your depression and anxiety symptoms- it works! Although running, hiking and yoga are considered some of the best; any activity that gets you moving and boosts your mood is encouraged. It could be rock climbing or just walking around the neighborhood. Just remember that the mind and body are connected, so taking care of one will improve the other. If you have any questions or want to book an appointment with one of our great psychiatrists feel free to contact us.