Slogging away at the gym can be tough, but it’s proven that exercise is well worth the effort! Quite apart from the benefits which exercise delivers to our physical wellbeing, exercise also is beneficial to our mental health as well. Specifically on the matter of depression the American Psychological Association says exercise can help alleviate long-term depression, a claim supported by wider studies reported here. Indeed, studies show that in some cases exercise can instantly boost your overall mood and be just as effective as antidepressant medications.
How Much Exercise is Enough?
Don’t worry if you’re not a gym junkie, you can get a happy buzz from working out for just thirty minutes a few times a week. That alone may significantly improve depression symptoms.
Smaller amounts of physical activity, as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time, may also make a difference. However it can take less time exercising to improve your mood if you’re doing more-vigorous activities, such as running or bicycling.
The mental health benefits of exercise and physical activity may last only if you stick with it over the long term which is a good reason to focus on finding activities that you enjoy.
Exercises for Mental Health
Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program to make sure it’s safe for you. Talk to your doctor to find out which activities, how much exercise and what intensity level is okay for you.
Your doctor will consider any medications you take and your health conditions. He or she may also have helpful advice about getting started and staying motivated. Exercise and physical activity are great ways to ease symptoms of anxiety or depression, but without sound clinical advice they should not be considered a substitute for psychotherapy or medications.