Fighting Depression with Exercise

Sound Mind and a Sound Body

Exercise increases levels of endorphins, feel-good chemicals in the brain that relieve or reduce anxiety and depression. The Mayo Clinic points out that exercise boosts the immune system to overcome negative moods when worries or fears threaten you. Anxiety and depressive thoughts disappear as your self-confidence takes over because of exercise.

If you’re not used to exercising, start walking or riding a bike for 10 minutes at a time before building up to enjoying your routine 30 to 60 minutes a day on most days of the week. Exercising doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial. Just taking a walk when a stressful situation arises can relieve tension that causes anxiety or depression. Try to fit an aerobics or dancing program into your schedule to make exercising fun and enjoy yourself with the company of others.

Tai chi has become a favorite exercise for many seniors. The slow, gentle movements of the arms and legs help improve balance significantly. Many people develop balancing problems as they age and find improvement after just one or two tai chi sessions.

Yoga and meditation are exercises that provide a calming effect to improve your mood. You can repeat a positive phrase to yourself while performing these relaxation techniques to rid yourself of negative thoughts that compound anxiety and depression. Yoga and meditation also include controlled breathing methods that can help lower blood pressure and improve the heart rate, Harvard Health Publications reports. You can join a yoga, tai chi or mediation class at your local community center or library.

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