The benefits of physical exercise are numerous and have a positive impact on physical and mental health.
And just as it helps maintain a healthy body weight and prevent (and control) chronic non-communicable diseases (cardiovascular, metabolic, and some cancers, among others), it also It affects people’s morale It is preferable to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
However, as much as they know the benefits of being physically active, people facing mental health issues can find it difficult Moving from theory to practice.
“Get up and go for a walk”: No matter how well-meaning advice is, it may not be enough.
It’s “When you’re depressed or anxious, it’s common to exercise Seems like the last thing you want to doExplain specialists from Mayo Clinic, in the United States, in an article issued by the institution.
“But once you feel the urge, exercise It can make a big difference‘, they say. To help the people who provide these photos, they have put together a series of “realistic advice” It can get them to move.
People who are ashamed to go out can exercise at home. shutterstock photos.
“The links between depression, anxiety, and exercise are not entirely clear, but exercise and other physical activities certainly improve symptoms of depression or anxiety, and help you feel better. Also, when you feel better, exercise can prevent you from feeling better.” “These symptoms come back,” as they say.
“The effect of physical activity on the brain’s response to stress may be of particular interest in people with stress-related psychological conditions.”
This was stated by Hadeel Zureikat, a clinical researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, USA), when recently presented, at the 71st Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology, a study that showed that Extra benefit Exercising in people with anxiety and depression.
In them, according to their work, physical activity is associated with greater benefits at the cardiovascular level.
depression and anxiety
Depression and anxiety are the two most prevalent mental health disorders: they affect nearly 5% and more than 3% of the world’s population, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which states that Exercise programs can be effective To prevent these problems.
why? Among the reasons, a Mayo Clinic article highlights that physical activity helps release endorphins (natural chemicals in the brain). Improved sense of well-beingIt helps to get negative thoughts and fears out of your mind.
Likewise, they assert that achieving goals or challenges (no matter how small) allows gain confidence And you feel better about yourself.
You may also prefer to exercise a Increase social interaction (especially if you exercise in a group), which is a healthy way to deal with mental health issues (and avoid others, such as alcohol or drugs).
Finding an activity you enjoy is key to staying motivated. shutterstock photos.
Are physical activity and exercise the same thing?
The answer is no. However, the two are related to Health benefitsHighlight the article authors explaining the differences:
- The Physical activity It is any activity in which the muscles work and requires energy; It can include work assignments, household chores, or recreational activities.
- The Playing sportsInstead, it is a planned, organized, and repetitive body movement that is performed to improve or maintain physical fitness.
They encourage “Word exercise can get you running in the gym. But exercise includes a wide range of options that increase your activity level to help you feel better.”
It all adds up
At least WHO guidelines recommend 150 to 300 minutes of exercise Weekly moderate to vigorous aerobic activity for all adults, including people with chronic illnesses or disabilities, and 60 minutes per day for children and teens.
“Running, lifting weights, playing basketball, and other fitness activities that increase your heart rate can help,” they say from the Mayo Clinic.
“But this also applies to physical activity, such as Gardening, car washing, walking around the block Or do other less intense activities. Any physical activity that gets you off the couch and gets moving can improve your mood.”
You can exercise 30 minutes or more a day, three to five days a week Significant improvement of symptoms of depression or anxiety,” they say.
However, they emphasized that it is not necessary to achieve the daily goal at once. “Small amounts of physical activity, 10 to 15 minutes, can make a difference.” At the end of the day, it all piles up.
Physical activity can also help improve social interaction. shutterstock photos.
How do you stay excited
If getting started with a workout is a challenge, Keep it as a long-term routine it is. This Mayo Clinic article suggests “real-world advice” that can help achieve this goal.
✔Find something you enjoy. Think about what physical activities you are most likely to do, when and how you are most likely to do them.
For example, are you more likely to spend time gardening in the evening, start your day by jogging or riding a bike, or playing with your kids after school? Do what you enjoy and this will help you keep it over time.
✔Consult a specialist Your mental health provider for guidance and support. Discuss an exercise program or physical activity routine and how it fits into your overall treatment plan.
✔I set reasonable goals. A key to avoid frustration. You don’t have to make it a goal to walk for an hour five days a week. Think realistically about what you can do and start gradually. Adapt your plan to your needs and capabilities, rather than setting unrealistic guidelines that you won’t meet on your own.
✔It’s not a duty. Don’t think of exercise or physical activity as a commitment. If exercise is just another duty in your life that you do not fulfill, in your opinion, you will associate it with failure. Instead, treat physical activity like your therapy sessions or medications: as one of the tools that will help you feel better.
- Analyze your barriers. Find out what prevents you from being physically active or exercising. If you feel shy, for example, you can exercise at home.
- If you find it easier to exercise together, find a friend to exercise with or someone who enjoys doing the same physical activities you do.
- If you have financial difficulties that prevent you from joining a gym or buying equipment or sports items, do something that doesn’t cost you, like going for a walk.
If you’ve thought about what’s stopping you from being physically active or exercising, you’ll likely find an alternative solution.
✔Prepare for setbacks and obstacles. Give yourself credit for every step you take in the right direction, no matter how small. If you haven’t exercised one day, that doesn’t mean you can’t maintain a routine and it’s better to give up. Just try again the next day.
The authors of the article advise consulting your physician before beginning an exercise routine to ensure it is safe.
Ask him which activities are most suitable for you, In any quantity and with any intensity. Your doctor will take into account the medications you take and your health condition. It can also give you helpful tips to start working out and stay motivated.”
They concluded: “If you exercise periodically, but symptoms of depression or anxiety still interfere with your usual activities, consult. Exercise and physical activity are very useful ways to relieve symptoms of depression or anxiety, but It does not replace psychotherapy or medication“.