Exercise: The Prescription to Change Your Mood
- Written by John Sovec
We all know that exercise is integral to physical fitness and assisting in the prevention of high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases. A growing volume of research is now suggesting that exercise can also help improve mental wellness including the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Research suggests that it may take at least 30 minutes of exercise a day for at least three to five days a week to significantly improve depression symptoms. But even smaller amounts of activity - as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time - can improve mood in the short term.
Just how exercise reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety isn't fully understood. Some evidence suggests that exercise raises the levels of certain mood-enhancing neurotransmitters in the brain. Exercise may also boost feel-good endorphins, release muscle tension, help you sleep better, and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It also increases body temperature, which may provide a calming effect.
All of these changes in your mind and body can improve such symptoms as sadness, depression, anxiety, irritability, stress, fatigue, anger, self-doubt and hopelessness.
So this summer find ways to participate in outdoor activities as much as possible enjoying both the physical and social benefits. Exercise and sunshine can assist in stabilizing your moods and make the long days of summer more enjoyable.
And don't forget your sunscreen!