Normally I devote my posts to supplements or training courses that hack your brain and help you overcome anxiety and or depression. I want to present a little bit about a completely free treatment method for both anxiety and depression that is ridiculously effective: exercise.
There have been numerous controlled studies carried out over the years examining the effect of exercise on well-being. The results have been overwhelmingly positive: exercise works to reduce anxiety and boost your mood.
The reason I’m posting this article is because I often find that people skip exercise and jump straight for treatments like drugs or therapy. While I’m not arguing that exercise alone will cure anxiety and depression (because it won’t), it is simply something that cannot be skipped.
I’m not suggesting you need to run a marathon. Hell, I hate running full stop. What I do love is being in nature, though. So I go for a 30-minute brisk walk every single day without fail. The key is to perform an exercise that you enjoy and do it consistently. Persistence is what helps deliver maximum mental health benefits from working out.
I also suggest taking up a sport such as soccer to mix things up a little. But you can’t play high-impact sports every day, which is why walking is ideal to meet your daily exercise goal of 30 minutes.
Swimming is also a wonderful addition to your exercise routine, and you’ll find that your body should be able to handle two or three swimming sessions of moderate intensity per week.
To get the mental benefits that exercise promises, you need to make a consistent habit of it. There will be no effect if you go walking for a week straight then stop for three. You need to fit exercise into your schedule pretty much every day. Think of the amount of time you probably waste online. Take 30 minutes from your unproductive internet time to boost your mental health.
The great thing with exercise is that the benefits tend to increase the longer you consistently do it. As you develop a habit of working out, you’ll find that your body starts to look fitter and leaner. The self-esteem boost from this reinforces the positive association with exercise, boosting your mood even more.
Supplements probably have the most profound standalone impact on anxiety and depression, but in my opinion, exercise is the glue that binds everything together and helps the supplements become even more effective.
The fact that you don’t have to pay a cent for exercise is also great. As I mentioned, exercise alone didn’t cure me, but when I combined it with supplements and techniques that worked for me, I came up with a treatment plan that cured both my anxiety and depression in three months.
Here is a broad overview of my current exercise plan:
Five-a-side soccer on Monday, swimming Tuesday and Thursday. Thirty-minute walk every other day.
It’s that simple. Your body and mind will thank you and it’s never too late to get started developing an exercise routine. I didn’t even start regular workouts until I was 26. I used to just hide in my room and stay on the net. But I soon realized that the dozens of scientific studies obviously had merit, I was just too lazy to do anything about it.
Once you get passed that initial inner resistance to working out and make a concrete habit of it, you’ll find that you can’t get enough of it. The worst part is the first week when you’ll think, “meh, this seems like too much effort.” That’s an ingrained negative thought pattern that results from years of low mood and anxiety. Try to ignore that and push through it. You’ll come out the other side a much happier and healtheir person.
If you found value in this post, please comment. Also, you are welcome to share your favorite exercise routines.
Thanks for reading!
Image via Flickr by whologwhy