Do you ever feel like this?
O.K. That was a bad joke but it did make me laugh when I saw it. Clearly, banging your head against the wall or desk isn’t at all helpful. Countless studies have pointed to the irrefutable fact that exercise is good for your body but also does wonders for your metal and emotional state. The following quote is from just one of the plethora of articles supporting this connection.
“Individuals who exercise report fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression, and lower levels of stress and anger,” Smits says. “Exercise appears to affect, like an antidepressant, particular neurotransmitter systems in the brain, and it helps patients with depression re-establish positive behaviors. For patients with anxiety disorders, exercise reduces their fears of fear and related bodily sensations such as a racing heart and rapid breathing.”
After patients have passed a health assessment, Smits says, they should work up to the public health dose, which is 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity. At a time when 40 percent of Americans are sedentary, he says, mental health care providers can serve as their patients’ exercise guides and motivators.
“After just 25 minutes, your mood improves, you are less stressed, you have more energy — and you’ll be motivated to exercise again tomorrow. A bad mood is no longer a barrier to exercise; it is the very reason to exercise.” (Southern Methodist University. “Mental health providers should prescribe exercise more often for depression, anxiety, research suggests.” ScienceDaily, 6 Apr. 2010. Web. 5 Sep. 2012)
You don’t have to suffer from clinical depression or life altering anxiety to reap the emotional rewards of consistent exercise. I feel it at work in my own life all the time. I’m a happy person. I enjoy the company of others and I enjoy being alone. I have a rich outer life, a rich inner life and feel satisfied in my own abilities. Still, life offers up challenges to all of us and there are times when I’m unsettled, worried or wound up about something or another. It’s those times when a trip to the gym is just what I need. A little cardio or a while spent pushing/pulling heavy things around and I feel better. It doesn’t solve my problem but it does calm my thoughts and that in turn allows me to take a more methodical, tactical approach to figuring out how to deal with my problem. there’s a reason I call my workouts “active meditation.” I’m moving my body, physically exerting myself, while simultaneously slowing, relaxing and calming my mind.
Mind and body are connected. There’s no way around it. When life gets frustrating don’t forget that a little exercise can provide the counterbalance. Don’t just sit there stewing…..MOVE!