I am often asked why do I ask people to add exercise to their daily routine. Its a great question and Yes I believe that exercise together with psychotherapy is immensely helpful when coping with Depression and Anxiety.
Research has proven that exercise and meditation is as good as taking anti depression medication. The benefit of 30 minutes of exercise in a day is well documented. If you dont have 30 minutes at a stretch breaking it down to 15 mins twice a day is also helpful.
How does exercise help?
- Releases anxiety and depression. A walk in the park or 20 minutes moderate exercise eases the muscle tension in the body. Anxiety not only brings mental worries , it also makes the body tense. A lot of people carry the tension in their necks, shoulders, back or stomach. Exercise will ease the tension in the body and also help calm the mind. Of course, its also distracting to focus on physical activity so there is some relief from worries and tension.
- Improving Sleep . Moderate physical activity in the morning or slow tension releasing exercise like yoga in the evening has been shown to improve sleep and help with insomnia.
- Improving Brain Power. Physical exercise has been linked helping with attention and concentration , increasing brain cells and increasing connectivity in the brain cells.
- Improving Mood: Physical exercise releases endorphins which have been linked to improving mood.
- Improving immune system: Stress can play havoc with the immune system. Regular exercise has been shown to improve immune system so people can avoid getting common colds etc.
So how do we add regular exercise in our already busy schedules? How do we motivate ourselves?
- Make a small start. Add 5 minutes of activity in a day to start with, if that is too little,make it a 10 minute walk. Listen to music while walking.
- Find an activity that is fun and enjoyable: We tend to engage in activities that we find enjoyable. If walking on a treadmill is not for you, find a class at the gym. Take a zumba class, kick boxing class or anything else that catches your eye.
- Check on your energy levels, add exercise to the part of your day when it feels like you have better mood and energy.
- Exercise with a friend or your partner. Make it a social activity. Social support is very important to make changes in life.
- Make it a family activity if you can, even if it is once a week.
- Reward yourself on taking these small steps towards feeling better. A reward can be a hot bubble bath, a smoothie, watching your favorite TV show. Put a dollar in a jar each day you exercised.
For more information and to make an appointment with Dr. Datta please call her at 201-952-9905