Exercise is awesome for the brain!

Exercise is awesome for the brain!

It has been shown to help with Depression, Anxiety, ADHD and many other mental health issues. Studies show that exercises can treat depression as effectively as antidepressant medication, but without the side effects. Exercise promotes the formation of new neural pathways, reduces inflammation, and often helps people feel calm and relaxed.

  • Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin-powerful chemicals that feel good and lift energy.

  • It stimulates neurotrophin release which improves learning and memory.

  • Recent research has even shown that exercise releases endocannabinoids, chemicals similar to cannabis (marijuana), in small doses in your brain these feel good and help decrease pain sensitivity

  • Exercise promotes the formation of new neural pathways, reduces inflammation, and often helps people feel calm and relaxed.

  • Exercise also helps with many of the physiological effects of emotion like muscle tension and insomnia.

  • It boosts the immune system and healing, and it helps to regulate the nervous system by taking it through healthy cycles of arousal and relaxation.

  • Exercise also improves creativity and can boost self-esteem.

  • Exercise helps to normalize your insulin levels while simultaneously boosting "feel good" hormones in your brain. Researchers have also discovered that exercise allows your body to eliminate kynurenine, a harmful protein associated with depression.11

Medical journalist and Pulitzer Prize nominee Robert Whitaker has detailed the many drawbacks and benefits of various treatments in his two books: "Mad in America, and Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America", noting that physical exercise actually comes out on top in most studies — even when compared against antidepressant drugs.

What if you don’t like exercise?

Do something you enjoy! When many people think of exercise they imagine suffering and sweating at the gym for hours. It is more important to find an a way to enjoy it by doing it with friends, or music, or whatever works for you. Go for walks with friends, take the stairs, clean the house vigorously, dance in your kitchen, dig in the garden, it doesn’t matter what you do, just get some movement in.

Pick a time when you are most motivated-for some people that’s first thing in the morning, for others it’s right after work, just find a time when you can get yourself up off the couch.

Listen to you body, it’s asking for movement, try to find an activity that lines up with your intrinsic motivation as that is more likely to be a sustainable change. Walking ten minutes a day for a year is better than a ramped up resolution with 5 am workouts at a smelly gym that only lasts a week.

Anything that gets you moving can help, but you’ll get a bigger benefit from exercise if you pay attention instead of zoning out. Try to notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the wind on your skin. By adding this mindfulness element—really focusing on your body and how it feels as you exercise—you’ll not only improve your physical condition faster, but you may also be able to interrupt the flow of constant worries running through your head.

Get outside- double your benefits! There’s some interesting research showing that people who run three miles outside are healthier physically and emotionally than people who run three miles on a treadmill.

Get social- having a workout buddy helps us stay committed and makes the activity more fun.


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