Effects of Exercise on Mental Health

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With the temperature and daylight hours decreasing, I’m noticing it’s getting harder and harder to motivate myself to work out. In the spring and summer, I enjoy going for walks or runs outside. However, as it gets colder and darker, it becomes unpleasant and even unsafe to do so. This is one of the reasons why I recently signed up for a gym membership.

Exercise and Mental Health

A majority of people already know that exercise has many physical health benefits. However, they are often unaware of the connection between physical activity and mental state. Researchers have found that people who engage in moderate exercise experience an increase in their mood five minutes after their workout. Research also shows that exercise can have a positive effect on long-term depression. Exercise has also been shown to have positive effects on anxiety. it’s important for me to maintain my exercise regimen to take care of my mental health.

For me, I’ve definitely noticed my mood suffers when I am inactive. To get myself back into an exercise routine, I’ll usually start by walking around outside through some of my favorite trails. Doing so makes exercising more of an adventure, especially when I bring my dog. Once I’ve gotten back into exercising regularly, I’ll go to the gym and set up a routine for myself. At this point, exercise becomes a healthy habit, and is no longer something I have to convince myself to do.

If you are struggling with low motivation, depression, or anxiety, consider adding exercise into your daily routine. You may also want to consider working with a therapist who can help you identify the root of these issues and other coping skills to manage their symptoms. It’s possible that you may also want to work with a psychiatrist to explore medication options. The Light Program has therapists and psychiatrists that can help you address your mental health issues when you are ready.