Workout your worries
In any given week, 1 in 6 people in the UK report experiencing a common mental health problem, like anxiety and depression. It can be caused by things like mounting pressures of work, money, and health worries – many of us have been there at some point (or will be).
But depression and anxiety are complicated and different for everyone, as is managing them. So we’re not here to preach about exercise as a fix-all cure. But we do know from research that regular exercise can reduce stress and anxiety, and help people cope with the symptoms of mild to moderate depression.
So being World Mental Health Day on 10 October, we thought we’d shed some light on how working out can help us lift the weight off our minds.
Moving boosts your mood
Depression has a way of draining energy levels making it even harder to get up and get moving. But the good news is, regular exercise can be a super mood booster.
Our minds and bodies are more joined up that we give them credit for. But what we do with and to our bodies can have a huge impact on our mental health. Time and time again studies have shown a direct link between physical activity and mental wellbeing.
We all know that being more active has loads of health benefits. For a start, it helps prevent heart disease and diabetes, improves sleep and lowers blood pressure. High-intensity workouts release feel-good endorphins in our brains – nature’s own antidepressant. But regular, low-intensity exercise is where the sweet spot lies for tackling depression.
Physically, this sort of activity promotes the growth of nerve cells that make new connections in the brain. The more switched on your brain, the better you feel.
Getting your groove on
Depression comes with its challenges. Getting out of bed in the morning can be a struggle, let alone getting up for a walk. It can make you lose sleep, feel constantly tired, disrupt your appetite and even make you feel achy all over – hardly motivation to get moving.
But for those who can do something, it’s better than nothing at all. It’s not a race or a competition. It’s about taking one step at a time. Start with five minutes, then move on to ten, and then fifteen. The more those connections build up, the better you’ll feel and the easier it’ll be to keep it up.
Keeping your groove on
The trick is finding something you like (even just a bit) and want to stick with. Joining a club or fitness class is a great way to get you involved and keep you in the game – so even when motivation is rock-bottom, the fact you’ve signed up (and paid) could be the thing that keeps you turning up.
If you or someone you know suffers from depression and/or anxiety, take that step – make that small leap that could set you on a new path. It might not be the cure, but it can help.
If you need help for mental health problems, talk to someone who can help.
– Team Anarchy45