How Does Exercise Help Depression and Anxiety?
To put it simply, exercise boosts your mood. That’s why it’s no wonder that it is one of the most recommended things to do first in the event of feeling depression or anxiety symptoms. Science shows time and again that working out helps the body release ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters, for example: serotonin, which help improve a person’s mood. This basically creates a chain reaction of sorts. The more serotonin you have floating around, the better your mood. The better the mood, the more positive of an outlook on things and the individual is better able to handle most situations.
Between depression and anxiety symptoms and the low energy that typically comes with them, trying to implement a workout routine becomes a next to impossible task. With that said, here are a few tips and tricks to getting those gears to start turning, and when you feel as though they might slow down or stop, take inventory and just start up again.
Exercise Motivation Tips To Remember:
- We all cycle: Everyone, even seasoned athletes, goes through cycles where one cheat day becomes two and getting workouts gets put off for another day. Before you know it, it’s been a week or three or even a few months. Remember that big changes take time, and even then the most enthusiastic lose touch on occasion. There is no cause for alarm, if one or a few training sessions are skipped, simply re-evaluate and give yourself credit for recognizing the behavior and action (or lack thereof) that needs to be changed and go for it!
- Check your Support System: Evaluate your support system. You know the saying, “Misery loves company”? If you want to get better about a routine and sticking to it, seek and surround yourself with other like-minded motivators, so that when you do start to slip, you have someone there to push you back up. You don’t have to completely get rid of all negative people (and let’s face it, sometimes we’re related to them!), but be sure to maintain more positive influences to balance any negative folks out.
- Hold yourself accountable: Getting healthier means holding yourself accountable for what you choose to do. For example, you are dragged out all day, everyone else is eating fast food, and it looks like you might not get a workout in. To make sure you’re accountable despite the circumstances, opt for healthier food alternatives. And if you’re running errands, park a good distance from the store, get in as much walking as possible. (Aim for at least 10,000 steps).
- Treat yourself: You’ve worked your butt off all week. You deserve a treat! Some folks can handle having cheat treats, some feel they can’t so they cut them out completely. Cutting them out only sets you up to overcompensate for it later by binges, so if you want some not so healthy snacks or a meal, go for it – but in moderation!
- Add some color: Adding some color to your workout gear can actually help boost your mood. Implementing fun colors (or if you aren’t into color, some new patterns or just new gear in general), will subconsciously make you want to get out there and use them! You don’t have to be a rainbow though, even a fun pop of color in sneakers, socks, or a headband is good enough.
- Switch it up!: Changing things up helps keep us from getting bored of the same routine. It keeps the brain interested and helps us to find what works, what doesn’t, what we love, and what we can modify. It keeps the passion for health fresh. So if you have always wanted to try something but weren’t sure, maybe now is the time to step out of your comfort zone and learn something new. After all, the brain likes a work out too.
I hope these ideas help out! If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to comment below!