Physical wellbeing can greatly benefit one's mental health.
Depression is widely prevalent and is actually the leading cause of disability in the world. Some of the common symptoms of depression include poor appetite, poor sleep patterns, having negative ruminating thoughts, & poor energy levels.
There are some steps that you can take to reduce the risk of episodes of depression even in individuals with a genetic predisposition to the condition. A recent study found that incorporating more physical activity — whether high-intensity dance, aerobic, or machines to more low-intensity yoga or walks — for 4 hours per week (or approximately 35 minutes per day) can help decrease the chances of depressive episodes by 17 percent. Furthermore, increasing exercise and spending more time outdoors can also help with seasonal affective disorder or “winter blues.”
Experts agree that exercise can:
- Help improve general physical well-being, sleep, appetite and energy levels, thus helping recover from depression
- Stimulate the brain to release neurochemicals like endorphins, the ‘happy hormone,’ or the body’s natural painkiller and helps with stress relief and pain
- Help prompt the release of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, which are also linked to feelings of well-being and happiness
- Help with weight reduction, regulate blood sugar, reduce the risk of heart disease.
Join a dance club or simply register with your local walking group to add more activity to your life. Any form of low to high intensity activity such as swimming, walking, running, aerobic exercise, dancing, cycling, gardening, yoga, pilates — even household chores that involve physical movement, such as climbing up and down stairs.
It’s never too late to start getting more physical — whatever your age. As long as you enjoy what you’re doing, it may become part of your lifestyle and, ultimately, help you stay happier, longer.