Exercise and your mental health

Exercise and your mental health

Imagine you go to the doctor and mention that you feel a bit, well, depressed lately. What exactly would your reaction be if your doctor handed you back a prescription for … a daily walk at lunch?!

I’m not making this up. British physicians actually write prescriptions for exercise to cure some ailments. I worry sometimes that our society is so apt to take a pill or some wonder drug to cure whatever is wrong. But what if something else more natural (and simple), like physical activity, could do the job just as well?

So what kind of activity? Turns out, says Psychology Today, that intensity doesn’t matter so much. Long walk? Run? Makes no difference. But do it in your spare time — and better yet, with a friend — and you’ll be on the right track.

But depression has a funny way about making you tired and unmotivated. This fatigue and sense of hopelessness can prevent a person for having the ambition to work out at all. So then what? Psychology Today recommends a variety of vitamins, including B12 which is good for energy and metabolism.

Exercise doesn’t just have the potential to help with depression. It can be a great tool for dealing with stress and anxiety, too. How does that work exactly? As this New York Times article describes, the brain of people who are more active deals with stress and anxiety better. These brains can more quickly and easily regain composure and calm.

That evening walk sounds pretty good right about now, doesn’t it?