Exercising Lifts Your Mood

How many times do you wake up and find yourself in a bad mood and really don’t know why? A few more examples: Someone told you something that isn’t very good and it causes you to spiral downward and as the day goes on it doesn’t seem to get better? You have a really bad day at your job and need somewhere to go to work out your frustrations? You have a relationship break up which has made you very sad? Or finally, you have a situation that needs fixing and you can’t figure out what to do and you need a place to think about a solution?

Dr Choi from Harvard stated, “What I’ve concluded was that any kind of movement can help keep depression at bay.” I think that’s why their findings were especially appealing. It didn’t say you have to run a marathon, do hours of aerobics, or be a CrossFit master just to see benefits on depression. They had done a study on the merits of intense exercise and mood swings which I found quite interesting. They used tracking devices that measured a person’s activity throughout the day. They wanted to answer the question, can the amount of exercise a person applies, change a person’s mood? In my interpretation, Dr. Choi concluded that exercise in itself has a way of restructuring our priorities even for a few brief moments. In turn, it gives us the ability to think about our situation more carefully and come to logical conclusions not emotional feelings.

Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication—but without the medical side-effects. As an example, a recent study performed by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression. In addition to relieving depression symptoms, their research also found that maintaining an exercise schedule can prevent you from relapsing back into a depressive state.

Exercise is a powerful depression fighter for several reasons. It promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good. Finally, exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of a cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.

All this has been proven over and over again. I know that when I am down the first thing I like to do is exercise, why? Because it gives me the ability to remove myself from my current concerns and issues so that when I have time to deal with them, I have a clearer mind and better understanding of possible solutions. In every instance I can think of in my life, when I have been filled with stress, exercise has helped.

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