The Effect of Exercise on Mental Health
It's a beautiful morning in Canada. AKA it's October and it's not 0 degrees yet, making it a beautiful day.
Today, I want to talk about the effects of exercise on mental health, and how implementing exercise can be incredibly beneficial to you.
For me, exercise has changed my life. From beginning in bodybuilding, transitioning to powerlifting, jiujitsu and judo, and even implementing hot yoga as of late, I has so much better of a mindset day in, and day out. I thought this was completely anecdotal, meaning I thought it was only my personal experience, but as it turns out...there's science to back it up!
According to a 2011 study, people who suffer from anxiety are hyper aware of their fight or flight response. This hyper awareness manifests itself in the form of anxiety attacks, and in my personal case, panic disorder.
Fear is the driving factor, which is set off by how sensitive our brains are o entering “fight or flight mode” (“Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-being”) Because of the similar response in the body during a workout, to anxiety (increased heart rate, sweating, heavy breathing) it was thought that an introduction of a regular exercise program would lessen the severity of anxiety attacks in people with panic disorder. 60 volunteers were used for this study and previously untrained subjects who participated in a 2 week exercise program showed massive reductions in anxiety sensitivity and severity. (“Depression and Anxiety, 2008”) Obviously, quoting studies doesn’t really mean anything to anyone suffering themselves because if anyone told me about this before I started working out I would have laughed and said it wouldn’t help. However, speaking from personal experience, regular exercise truly lowers my severity, number, and duration of anxiety attacks. I have no personal studies to back it up, (obviously the studies are out there), I’m just speaking from personal experience. Exercise helps, and if you’ve never given it a shot, it might be something to look into.
Just a little tidbit to get you through the week.