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We all know the benefits of exercise on our physical health, but our mental health can be greatly impacted as well. You don’t have to run a marathon to achieve these benefits, either. A little bit of exercise can go a long way when it comes to our health and recovery. Continue reading to learn more about how you can exercise your way to recovery.

Get Your Heart Rate Up

When you get your heart rate up and sweat a bit, your brain releases feel-good endorphins. These endorphins help to ease the strain of exercise and help keep us going. Exercise can also help ease stress. When we are emotional, our heart rate goes up, we breathe heavier, and start to sweat. These things that are often seen in exercise are also seen during intense moments of stress. Thus, exercise can help your brain be okay with this state, which helps your body not be so alarmed when you feel this way amidst anxiety. Furthermore, depressive symptoms have been seen to decrease when someone is exercising. Exercise also serves as a distraction from the anxiety and stress of your current situation. It gives the distress a place to go, a form of release that you wouldn’t otherwise have. So, get up and get that heart rate going. It can work wonders!

Can Exercise Prevent Depression?

In a study done by Australian researchers for the American Journal of Psychiatry,
22,000 healthy adults without anxiety or depression were followed for a little over a
decade. The researchers kept tabs on their exercise habits and their signs and
symptoms of anxiety and depression. A link between exercise and depression was
found later in the study. “People who said they didn’t exercise at the study’s start were
44% more likely to become depressed, compared with those who exercise at least one
to two hours a week,” says Amanda MacMillan. The study had control groups for other
potential factors, too, such as age, gender, social support, substance use, and body
mass index. Exercise, however, seemed to be the deciding factor.

This study also found that the exercise doesn’t have to be extremely intense to see
results. Just getting movement helped tremendously, whether the participants went for a
light walk or a hard run. This is great news for many people who are weary about
getting off the couch and exercising for fear that they have to run a marathon. Another
thing that also came into play was exercising with other people. The social benefits of
exercising in a group also helped people feel less depressed. Lastly, exercise may
trigger changes in self-esteem, produce certain proteins, and release mood-boosting
endorphins, says MacMillan. The research shows one thing for certain: whether you are
currently dealing with depression or not, exercise can work wonders for helping relieve
or prevent depression from popping up.

Soak Up the Sunlight

Many people who exercise do so outdoors, which means they are getting good amounts
of sunlight. This is also a great thing for people who are dealing with depression. In fact, seasonal affective disorder is a seasonal depression that occurs during the winter
months when people who live up north do not receive the same amount of sunlight that
they usually do. Sunlight helps these people tremendously. There’s also been a link
between higher serotonin and getting outside on sunny days. Serotonin is the brain
chemical that is directly linked to mood. The less serotonin you have, the more
depressed you may feel. Likewise, the more serotonin you have, the happier you may
feel. This is how most antidepressants work—they boost the serotonin levels which in
turn helps boost your mood. Soaking up the sunlight, however, is a natural medication
that can be good for those dealing with depression.

Hang Around Good People

While you are outside and exercising, it can be good to do so in a group. Research has
shown that hanging out with happy people can help you feel better. Believe it or not,
moods are contagious. If you hang around with people who are negative, smoke, and
drink, you may find yourself being more negative and using substances. Today, try
going for a walk around your neighborhood with a friend. Ride bikes with your
neighbors. Play a pick-up game of basketball in your front yard. Hang out with your kids
in the backyard. Organize a block party. Whatever you do, make sure to have good
people around you and get moving. This not only helps your body, but your brain too.
Recovery is key, and so is exercise.

The Guest House is here to help you in your recovery. We know that exercise can
benefit you in your recovery. This is why we encourage you to exercise. The
benefits of sunlight and good company cannot be overlooked either. This is why
we offer therapies that can be done outside. Our staff is friendly and ready to help
you with a good mood and smile. This can help you feel positive about your
recovery. Call us today at 855-483-7800. We can’t wait to speak with you and get
you started in one of our programs today. Take that leap of faith and call us now.