Much can be said about the body benefits of a good workout. Your mood is improved, your blood gets pumping and your body gets healthier. Healthy endorphins can go rushing through your bloodstream, creating a heightened sense of well-being and happiness. But if you are suffering from depression and anxiety, just getting to the gym can be a real struggle.
Mental illness can easily be manifested in your physical being. Depression itself can make you feel fatigued and even sick, and can make it impossible to even think about moving around, let alone exercising. With the help of a licensed physical therapist, you can create an exercise program that is just the right pace for you. Doctors and scientists agree that the amount of daily exercise that you get is directly related to your overall feeling of well-being.
The benefits of regular exercise for your general mental health can be astounding. People who suffer from mental illness can feel very isolated and alone, and getting out for physical therapy can be a challenge for some, but it can be worth the extra effort. Regular physical activity can help relieve chronic pain, muscle tightness and overall stress to the point of eliminating many of the symptoms that often go along with mental illness.
It’s All About The Endorphins
A large part of why exercise makes us feel better is the endorphins that are released from the brain into your body during physical activity. They are released primarily to help aid your body and help heal your muscles from stress during a workout, but they have other benefits as well.
Serotonin and dopamine are the two most well-known “feel good” hormones that give you energy and a sense of happiness after a workout. They have many of the same properties as morphine in the sense of pain-killing power and creating a sense of euphoria within the body.
People that are suffering from depression or anxiety can have a marked lack of these hormones circulating through the body. Dopamine and serotonin can act together to help you not only feel better but have more energy and focused concentration.
The general circulation of blood and oxygen can also be depleted in people suffering from mental illness, as it can be very difficult to feel like you want to partake of any kind of physical activity when you are dealing with depression. The increased blood flow that comes with a workout can not only raise the levels of endorphins in your system but can have health effects on your brain and nervous system. With proper blood flow to your brain you can improve your cognitive skills and reduce symptoms of depression like fatigue and lack of focus.
If you are suffering from depression and are looking for tools in addition to medications, consider talking to your doctor about meeting with a physical therapist. Together you can create a program that is set at the right pace for you that targets your specific needs and symptoms.