Getting started and staying motivated is the key...
Of course when you are suffering from depression or anxiety, probably the last thing on your mind is exercise. But consider this: once you decide to make a start and get motivated to help yourself, exercise has the potential to make a huge difference in your life.
Recent research has been carried out which has revealed that not only will depression and anxiety symptoms improve, but there will be a positive affect in other areas such as: potential lowering of high blood pressure, assisting in the control of sugar levels for people with diabetes, and improving chronic arthritis symptoms.
Keeping up a regular routine of exercise is very important as it can definitely help a person to relax and feel better for long periods of time. If exercise is practiced on a regular basis the results will likely be significant. Walking at least 3 times a week for an hour is recommended. If that seems too much, then start with just a 10 minute walk, 3 times a week, and build up from there. As you start feeling fitter and start to enjoy the experience even more, you may find yourself wanting to walk for pleasure everyday.
The benefits of exercise include:
- Increased self-confidence
- Satisfaction in achieving goals
- Less time to think about worries and concerns which are a major component of anxiety and depression
- The chance to engage in more social contact with others to lift your mood
- Doing something positive and enjoyable to guide you away from negative thoughts and feelings
The word 'exercise' may strike fear into some people as they imagine themselves having to run a marathon race. However this is certainly not the case, as there are several much less strenuous and more enjoyable activities to choose from such as:
- playing a team sport
- getting together with a group for a card game
- volunteering at a local community centre
- washing the car
It is not necessary to dive headlong into a strict exercise routine. It's more important to find activities that suit your circumstances and your interests. For example: If you were out shopping and were faced with the option of taking the elevator or stairs, just take the stairs to incorporate a little more exercise into your day. Perhaps if you were going to the shops, you could park your car a couple of blocks away and walk the rest of the way there. Take the dog for a walk to the park, or if you don't have a dog, borrow the neighbors! They'll love you for such a kind gesture, and so will the dog!