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This Month In Body
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  • Exercise for Mental Health
    If you struggle with depression, anxiety, stress, or ADHD, a regular workout may be what you need to feel normal again. What is it about exercise that helps you fight depression and how can you stay committed to workout when you lack energy and all motivation? Read >>
Health and Fitness News

Exercise for Mental Health

Every time you work your body, you protect your mind.

Why do you exercise—to lose weight, get in shape, or to improve your heart health? While these are the most common reasons people exercise, there is another important motivator that’s often overlooked. Exercise is one of the best ways to improve your mental health. If you struggle with depression, anxiety, stress, or ADHD, a regular workout may be what you need to feel normal again. Even small amounts of physical activity can make a big difference.

Research shows that exercise may be as effective at treating mild to moderate depression as antidepressant medications. The great part is that—unlike medication—exercise has no negative side effects. What is it about exercise that helps you fight depression and how can you stay committed to workout when you lack energy and all motivation?

Endorphins

Some of the mental health benefits attributed to exercise are due to endorphins. These natural “feel good” chemicals are released by the body in response to high-intensity exercise. Runners report they experience a “runner’s high,” which causes feelings of euphoria, reduced pain, a sense of well-being, and relieved anxiety.

Growth Factors

Most people don’t exercise hard or long enough to release endorphins, but exercise is still beneficial. Low-intensity exercise releases growth factor proteins, which stimulate the growth of nerve cells and help your body make new neural connections. In layman’s terms, low-intensity exercise improves the health of your brain and relieves depression in the process.

Needed Distraction

When you’re feeling depressed, it’s hard to escape your negative thoughts. Exercise is a great way to distract yourself from your feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Instead of thinking about all that’s wrong, exercise helps you focus on new goals, the finish line ahead, or the beautiful day outside. If you can’t get out of your head, push yourself harder, so you can’t think of anything but the physical task at hand.

Staying Motivated

Depression can cause a lack of energy, trouble sleeping, no appetite, and even body aches. When you’re depressed, it can be hard to get out of bed in the morning, let alone go to the gym. Exercise is often the last thing you feel like doing. So how do you find the motivation to move your body?

While structured exercise sessions may not happen every day, you can increase your amount of physical activity overall. If you’re not up for lifting weights or taking a spin class, find other ways to move your body. Rake the leaves, wash the car, take a walk around the block, clean the house, or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Every little bit of activity helps fend off depression.

You’ll gain the most benefit from exercise, however, if you commit to 30 minutes or more of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week. The key to doing this is to find an exercise you enjoy so you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
Work with your trainer or trusted friend to help you set reasonable workout goals and then keep you accountable. If needed, start with just a few minutes a day.

Schedule your workouts during the time of day when you feel most energized. Whether morning, afternoon, or evening, you’ll be more likely to stick with exercise when you’re feeling your best. Remind yourself of the benefits of exercise (increased energy, improved mood, better sleep, weight loss, increased confidence, and better health). Then get to it. Your mental health depends on it!

About Training with Mr. America
jasonkozmatransparent-fornewsletter.pngAbout our programs: Mr. America Jason Kozma's Personal Training is a triple threat of body shaping weight workouts, precision fat-loss cardio and holistic nutrition using regular foods. Using his system, you can radically upgrade your fitness, health, appearance and self-confidence. Clients routinely shed 20 pounds of body fat in eight weeks or less, dramatically increase their strength and flexibility, and achieve extreme cardiovascular fitness.

Even if you've never had success losing fat or gaining muscle before, our individually tailored program will work for you! Call now at (310) 772-5105 and find out how quickly you can get in the best shape of your life!

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