Exercise Should Be the First Line of Treatment for Depression and Anxiety - Study

Exercise Should Be the First Line of Treatment for Depression and Anxiety – Study

Research has shown that exercise can be a helpful tool in managing symptoms of depression. Dr. Ben Singh and his team from the University of South Wales conducted a study which looked at 128,000 participants and found that physical activity was 1.5x more effective than medication or counseling in tackling depression.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways exercise can help with depression:

Exercise releases endorphins

Endorphins are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators. When you exercise whether in a big gym like 9 Round or at home (p90x), your body releases these chemicals to reduce pain and boost feelings of pleasure and well-being. Endorphins are often referred to as the body’s natural painkillers because they can help to alleviate discomfort and make you feel better.

So, whether you enjoy going for a run, hitting the gym, or practicing yoga, engaging in physical activity can help you feel more energized and positive.

Exercise improves brain function

Exercise has been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce inflammation in the brain, which can help reduce symptoms of depression. Exercise has been shown to increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which can lead to improved cognitive function and memory retention.

Exercising regularly also helps to stimulate the growth of new brain cells and strengthen existing neural connections. This can enhance your ability to learn and retain information, as well as improve your mood and reduce stress and anxiety.

Exercise promotes social interaction

Engaging in exercise with other people can provide a sense of social connection, which can be particularly helpful for individuals experiencing feelings of loneliness or isolation. Moreover, it also provides a fun and enjoyable way to connect with others.

Whether you join a sports team, attend group fitness classes, or even just take a walk with a friend, exercise can be a great way to meet new people and build relationships. It provides a common interest and a shared experience that can help to facilitate conversations and connections.

Exercise improves self-esteem

Regular exercise can lead to improvements in physical health and appearance, which can positively impact self-esteem and confidence. As you work towards your fitness goals, you’ll begin to see improvements in your strength, endurance, and overall physical health. These achievements can give you a sense of control over your body and help you feel more empowered and capable.

Moreover, it can help to improve your body image, which can have a significant impact on your self-esteem. As you become stronger and more fit, you may begin to feel more confident and comfortable in your own skin.

Exercise can distract from negative thoughts

Engaging in physical activity can provide a healthy distraction from negative thoughts and rumination, allowing individuals to focus on something positive and productive. It can be a powerful tool for distracting you from negative thoughts and helping you to shift your focus to the present moment.

When you engage in physical activity, you have to concentrate on your movements and your breathing, which can help to quiet your mind and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

It can also provide a sense of purpose and direction, which can be especially helpful when you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed. By setting fitness goals and working towards them, you can give yourself a sense of control over your life and help to reframe negative thoughts in a more positive light.

Understand more about the effects of exercise on depression here:

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