Exercise, Chicken Soup for the Soul

By Talina Hendrickson, Fitness Coordinator

According to an article published by the Mayo Clinic, both anxiety and depression can be improved simply by exercising. For many people who suffer from depression, putting on exercise clothes and working out are probably the last thing they want to do. No one knows for sure why depression and anxiety improve with exercise, but one thing is known, that exercise or simply getting up and moving makes a person feel better. Mayo Clinic staff also indicates that exercise may also help keep depression and anxiety from coming back.

So, exactly how does exercise help to ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety? When you exercise, good endorphins are released. These natural cannabis-like chemicals enhance your sense of well-being. Exercising can also help take your mind off what is troubling you and steer you away from negative thoughts.

There are many other reasons why exercise helps relieve anxiety and depression. One benefit that many of our residents enjoy is the social interaction it can provide. Regularly attending a class or working out in a facility like our fitness center will give you an opportunity to meet or socialize with others. Sometimes just seeing a friendly, familiar face or waving to a passerby when you are out on a walk can help improve your mood.

Incorporating physical activity like walking a dog into your daily routine can help release good endorphins to enhance your sense of well-being. John and Elaine Earl stroll through the Village with their dog Leah.

Remember when you set goals for work or school? Setting an exercise goal whether it is to challenge yourself to walk a little farther or increase your reps each day can help to boost your self-confidence and improve your mood. The end result besides releasing those fabulous endorphins just might result in a change in
your appearance.

You don’t have to join a class to get the benefits of exercise. Becoming more physically active can also help improve your overall health and mood. Physical activity like walking, gardening, dancing, washing your car, or taking the stairs will work your muscles and set off the positive endorphins.
Ideally everyone should commit to doing at least 30 minutes a day of exercise for three to five days a week. However, adding a few small amounts of activity throughout the day for 10 to 15 minutes will go a long way to making improvements to both your physical and
mental health.