Sure, exercise gives your body and metabolism
a boost, but did you know that it can lift your spirits too? Learn how moving your feet can move your mind. back to top
Can exercise help me feel good?
Girls who exercise regularly have lower rates of depression
than inactive people. That's a fact you can use. Of course, it doesn't mean that if you exercise regularly, you'll never feel sad or worried. But if you've got the blues or the blahs, take a deep breath—and get moving. You might be surprised to see how good exercise can make you feel! back to top
How does exercise help?
Exercise increases your brain's production of chemical stress fighters, like serotonin
, which help keep the blues at bay. Physical activity can make different parts of your body—like your cardiovascular system
, kidneys, and nervous system
—communicate with each other more efficiently. When your body experiences physical stress (say, from exercise), it is programmed to prepare for emotional stress. That means exercise can trick your body into producing more of those brain chemicals that help you handle stressful situations. back to top
What kind of exercise will make me feel better?
You don't have to run a marathon
or climb Mount Everest to get a lift from physical fitness. How long you exercise and how hard you exercise aren't nearly as important as getting moving. Moderate cardiovascular exercise
, like walking, swimming, or riding a bicycle, can give your spirits a short vacation. Keep it up, and you just might find that you feel a little less anxious all the time.
Working out with a Fitness Friend
, learning a new sport like basketball, or just getting outdoors for a change of scenery all fit into the exercise equation when it comes to improving your mood. Along with exercise, eating a healthy diet
, getting enough sleep, and meditating or practicing yoga for relaxation
can all help you de-stress and worry less. back to top
Is exercise a replacement for therapy?
Exercise is a great anxiety fighter and mood lifter, but it's not a replacement for therapy. If you're seeing a therapist or taking medication for depression or anxiety, don't use exercise as an excuse to stop. Talk with your health professional about how exercise can fit into your treatment. back to top