Medication is not the only solution for depression and anxiety. In fact, there’s an all natural treatment that virtually anyone can use to treat depression and anxiety symptoms: exercise. Exercise can help prevent and improve health problems and diseases. Research also supports that the benefits of exercise help improve mood and decrease anxiety.
When you have depression or anxiety, exercise often seems like the last thing you want to do. But once you get motivated, exercise can make a big difference. And once you start, depression and anxiety symptoms generally start to fade away.
How Can Exercise Help Me With Depression and Anxiety?
Depression is the leading cause of disability in the US. The country spends over $40 billion annually on lost work productivity due to depression. This study by the National Library of Medicine, and much more research, shows the clear implications for the benefits of exercise for depression. Mainly, that structured exercise shows promise in alleviating symptoms of clinical depression. Some of the study’s hypotheses for the success of exercise for treating depression include: enhanced self-efficacy, distraction, endorphin release, and a thermogenic effect. Research also suggests that the benefits of engaging in exercise can be long-lasting.
Endorphins are natural cannabis-resembling chemicals. Everyone produces endorphins naturally. But exercise can boost the release of these feel-good hormones and thereby increase your sense of wellness.
Exercise can be a great outlet for mental and physical energy. A sport like boxing is a great way to release some aggression while also building cardiovascular and muscular strength. On top of that, while you’re working out, it’s a chance to live in the moment. You don’t have to think about your everyday worries while you’re focusing on physical activity. As such, exercise can be a great form of meditation or just time to take your mind off of worries.
The Psychological and Emotional Benefits of Exercise
Feel More Confident
Have you ever noticed that people with exquisite physical fitness seem like they radiate confidence? Well that’s because exercise helps you gain confidence. Not just by making you look and feel better – there’s a deeper psychological component at work here. When you commit to exercise, you gain confidence by meeting goals and pushing yourself to surpass your limits.
Build Social Connections
You never know what kind of connections you can make through your fitness journey. You might make new friends in your pilates class. If you regularly go to a gym, this will also instill a sense of belonging to a community. Even if you don’t socialize with others, simply greeting and smiling at others can boost your mood.
Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms
A coping strategy is a tool that you can use to manage negative emotions like depression and anxiety. Rather using unhealthy coping mechanisms like drinking or emotional eating, opt for physical activity. The hardest part is usually getting started. But, once you decide to do it, everything will be downhill from there.