Spring is a great time of year to talk about #mentalhealth. Actually, any time of the year is ideal for talking about mental health, but we just wrapped up National Stress Awareness month in April and now Mental Health Month is going on through May. With 1 in 5 adults in America (more than the population of NY and FL combined) dealing with anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions -- it’s time we talk (and keep talking) about it.
A quick disclaimer -- individuals should always consult with a physician prior to beginning an exercise program, and should seek out professional help if feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression become overwhelming. This is important -- there is help available! However, it’s also important to note that exercise is a powerful (and often neglected) medicine when it comes to the most common mental health conditions.
The endorphins generated during a bout of exercise create feelings of euphoria, lower your stress levels, and enhance the body’s immune response. Additionally, aerobic exercise stimulates blood flow to the brain, and the socialization enjoyed while working out in a group further decreases the stress response and lowers anxiety levels. Biologically, exercise gives the body a chance to practice dealing with stress. It forces the your physiological systems -- all of which are involved in the stress response -- to communicate much more closely than usual and become more efficient in dealing with stress.
Just 20-30 minutes of regular exercise per day can prevent depression and anxiety in the long term, as the production of serotonin and dopamine (feel-good chemicals in the brain) are heightened during and after exercise. Likewise, regular exercise keeps hormones like adrenaline and cortisol in check -- helping you feel less stressed and improving your resilience (a.k.a. your ability to bounce back) after stressful situations.
CADENCE offers a wide variety of options for exercise and socialization in a welcoming environment. Visit the NAMI website to learn more about mental health, and click here to learn more about exercise and mental health. #stopthestigma