If you suffer from depression and/or anxiety, regular exercise–even if it’s only in small amounts-can improve your symptoms. Exercise isn’t a cure for depression or anxiety, but it has great psychological and physical benefits.
Physical exertion may be the last thing you feel like doing when you are down or tense, but your resistance can be overcome. First, it’s important to understand what exercise can do for you. Researchers believe it positively affects the levels of certain mood-enhancing neuro-transmitters in our brains. It may also boost “feel-good” endorphins, release tension in muscles, help you sleep better and reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. What is more, it increases body temperature, which provides a calming effect.
All these changes in your mind and body can relieve feelings of sadness, anxiety, irritability, stress, fatigue, anger, self-doubt and despair. But don’ t try to replace your medical treatment with exercise–it should complememt whatever other therapy has been prescribed.
It’s also important yo start slowly and build up to 30 minutes of exercise at least five days aweek. Start by doing just between 10 and 15 minutes twice or three times a week, and build up from there as you begin to feel better.