Monday, February 9, 2009

Get on Your Feet

If you are dealing with anxiety and/or depression, exercise is something that you should begin, increase, or continue. There is 40 years of research that exercise is not only be very helpful, but some studies indicate they work better than anti-depressant medications, especially in follow-up studies! The self-help group Recovery, International (formerly Recovery Inc.) has taught for over 70 years that when depressed to "move your muscles.” Sleep quality and insomnia often improve with exercise.

It is best to consult with your physician before beginning a mild to moderate exercise program. Often, walking is a great place to begin. No special equipment is necessary and you can do this year round. In winter, many go to indoor malls to walk. Start at a comfortable pace and don't over do. Even 10 minutes has been shown to be beneficial.

The trick is to find something that you don't hate and preferably enjoy. Studies generally utilize 20 to 60 minute sessions at least three times a week, although you may not be ready to begin at that length of time. Nor do you necessarily have to join a gym. Finding someone to exercise with can be very helpful, but should not be an excuse to not exercise. Consider walking with your spouse or a friend. Bike ride with your kids. Consider exercise classes.

Having different things that you sometimes do can help keep things from getting boring. However, if you say love and want to primarily do one activity, Great! Changing where you walk, run, bike, etc. can also help keep things more fresh. Another advantage of sometimes doing different things is using different muscles.

Exercise is not guaranteed to beat your anxiety or depression alone, but it frequently is very helpful.

Best wishes,

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