Exercise helps boost immunity and good health, but its association with mental health has largely been ignored. Change in lifestyle, from active to sedentary, mainly due to the introduction of various technological innovations has rendered it imperative to introduce exercise as a necessary intervention for mental health problems.
Bringing about subtle modifications in lifestyle could prove to be a cheaper and efficient method of promoting mental well-being. The “National Physical Therapy Month” is observed every year in October by the American Physical Therapy Association with an aim to celebrate and spread awareness about the transformative power of physical therapy.
Mental health professionals underscore the need to include exercise as a crucial element in the treatment of depression and anxiety. Prior studies have hinted at the efficacy of exercise in enhancing the quality of life of schizophrenia patients. Exercise does not necessarily imply any strenuous routine, it can include light aerobic exercise, walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling that can have a healing effect on people prone to anxiety attacks or depressive symptoms. While there are many forms of exercises that can help uplift mood and consequently mental health, some of the common exercises which psychologically disturbed people can try are:
- Walking: Most can start their daily routine with a walk. While cynics may debate the benefits of walking as a restoration measure to adequate mental health, a few minutes of walk goes a long way in helping people start their day on a less depressive note.
- Yoga: The benefits of yoga as an effective measure to cure mental illnesses is well understood. Yoga involves stretching the body in various postures, thus, helping reduce perceived stress and a high degree of anxiousness. Though therapeutic effects of yoga are not in medical journals, an increasing number of Americans are tapping into its exercise and relaxation techniques to improve mood and stress response levels.
- Swimming: Including a few minutes of swimming in one’s daily routine has many health benefits and it helps decrease stress. As per the U.S. Census Bureau, swimming ranks second among the most popular sports in the U.S. Swimming is looked upon mostly as a fun exercise for children, but in adults, it has many benefits. Swimming rekindles a competitive spirit which helps foster psychological well-being, apart from enhancing the mental health of a person.
Treating mental illnesses with exercise
Studies have elaborated on the positive effects of exercise in treating mild to moderate depression. Some researchers have even said that the benefits of regular exercise are similar to the effects of anti-depressants.
Apart from its positive impact in alleviating signs of depression, regular exercise reduces chance of relapse among depressed people. General practitioners indicate that regular exercise promotes changes in the brain, including reduction of inflammation and release of endorphins, which induces a feel good factor. Few minutes of exercise helps declutter the mind, thus, freeing the mind of the vicious cycle of depression.
Because of its effects, exercise is also understood as an effective anti-anxiety treatment. Release of endorphins provides the necessary relief from anxiety and stress, while constant movement keeps off unwanted worries.
The benefits of exercise have also been felt in children suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as regular exercise helps alleviate signs of the disorder by helping raise the levels of concentration, motivation, and memory. Researches have indicated that the effects of exercise in augmenting focus and attention in ADHD children are similar to the impact of medications like Ritalin and Adderall. Exercise decreases trauma levels, which in turn, allows patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Recovering from disorders of the mind
Exercise does not require any prescription and its effects on the emotional state can be felt in a short span. The time one devotes to exercise is usually limited to a few minutes initially, but gradually it can go up. One should try to make exercise a habit and subsequently an inherent part of the routine. For treating mental disorders, one should seek advice of a professional expert in spite of reaping the healing effects of exercise .
If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental illness, including stress, depression, or anxiety, contact the Sovereign Mental Health Services to know about our various mental health treatment facilities in the U.S. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-954-0529 or chat online for information about our anxiety disorders treatment centers in California.