Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 18 - Mind/Body Connection

We all know exercise is important. It improves cardiovascular health, increases muscle tone and speeds up metabolism in addition to a myriad of other health benefits. But, did you know it can also play a crucial part in decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety?

When someone is depressed or anxious, they may have a lower amount of certain chemicals, or neurotransmitters, in the brain (seretonine, dopamine and norepenephrine specifically) than those who are not depressed or anxious. One of the goals when it comes to treating someone who is experiencing these symptoms is to regulate those neurotransmitters (which in turn will regulate the person's moods). This is commonly done through the use of medication but research has also shown that exercise can lead to a similar outcome.

Rather than explaining all of this myself I thought it would make more sense to include some interesting articles related to this subject:

1) USA Today, "Exercise Helps Fight off Anxiety, Depression" (4/26/20)

2) Losing it With Jillian Michaels, "Everyday Stress Got your Metabolism Down?"
* This one explains the relationship between stress and weight loss.

My belief is that a multi-faceted attack is most helpful when trying to eliminate anxiety. That's why I have included so many varied topics in this blog series, from the way we think, to the way we feel, and all kinds of other possible remedies in between. From personal experience, I can say with certainty that I feel better when I am exercising regularly. My energy increases, I sleep better at night, I have more confidence and on the whole just feel like a healthier individual.

A few suggestions:

* If you don't enjoy exercising much, find to an activity that's interactive. I have a friend who joined a flag football team that played a few times a week on the beach which was awesome because she met new people and worked out. Another friend who loves to run joined a training group that worked out together on week days and raced quarterly in 5 and 10k competitions.

* My husband and I like to take walks together. When we lived in Newport Beach, CA we would walk around one of the local neighborhoods that overlooked the harbor and had gorgeous homes. Walking is nice when the scenery is beautiful and you have someone to chat with.

* I have another friend who likes to run/walk alone. She uses the time to pray, listen to music and just have some alone time once a day.

* Group exercise classes are fun as well and there is something motivating about being in a room with a group of people, listening to loud, fun music and having a blast while working out!

* It's always wise to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.

See you tomorrow!


  1. I love the idea of group exercise... I'm totally (100%) unmotivated to exercise on my own but when there are other people involved, I'm MUCH more likely.

  2. Me too! I used to love kickboxing at 24 Hour Fitness but sadly, we don't have those here in Durham. :(