Harnessing the Power of Exercise: A Key to Mental and Physical Well-being

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When it comes to management of one’s mental health, often therapy and medication options are considered first. Though these are wonderful tools for treating certain conditions, one of the most effective and accessible ways to improve one’s well-being is through regular exercise. Regular exercise can transform one’s life.

If you or a loved one are struggling with maintaining your mental health, talking to a provider at Sacred Psychiatric, or a mental health provider near you is a place to start!

What are the Benefits of Exercise?

Exercise stimulates the production of endorphins. It can regulate the levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain. These chemicals play crucial roles in mood regulation, and their balanced levels can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, fostering a sense of well-being. Exercise acts as a stress reliever by lowering the levels of cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone.

Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, which can help improve memory and protect against cognitive decline. Studies have shown that regular exercise can enhance brain function and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.

In exercise activities that involve others, whether it’s going to the gym with a friend, joining a sports team, or signing up for a fitness class, the interactions with others can lead to the formation of new friendships, providing a sense of community and belonging.

Physical activity raises your body temperature, and the subsequent drop in temperature after exercise can promote falling asleep faster and enjoying deeper sleep.

Of course, there are also many great benefits to one’s physical health with exercise. For instance, consistent exercise strengthens the heart, enabling it to pump blood more efficiently. This reduces the risk of heart diseases, lowers blood pressure, and improves cholesterol levels.

Weight-bearing exercises can build and maintain muscle mass and bone density, helping prevent Osteoporosis.  Aerobic exercises enhance lung capacity and efficiency, which means your body can get more oxygen and expel carbon dioxide more effectively. This improves overall respiratory health and endurance.

If you continue to experience mood symptoms despite placing efforts into a healthy lifestyle routine, it may be time to seek anxiety treatment with a professional mental health provider.

What Type and How much Exercise does One need?

Regular, consistent exercise is crucial for reaping the brain health benefits. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week, along with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week.

Examples of moderate intensity: requires a moderate amount of effort to accelerate heart rate.

  • Brisk walking, dancing, gardening, housework/chores, walking dog, building tasks (roofing, painting), carrying/moving moderate loads (less than 20kg)

Examples of vigorous intensity: requires a large amount of effort and causes rapid breathing and substantial increase in heart rate.

  • Running, climbing briskly up a hill, fast cycling, aerobics, swimming, sports (football, volleyball, hockey, and basketball), heaving showing, carrying/moving heavy loads (more than 20kg)

If you don’t have the time for a formal exercise program, you can still find ways to move throughout your day. Try these tips:

  • Bike instead of driving to the store
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Park as far as you can from the door
  • Hand-wash your car
  • Clean your house

Exercise is a powerful tool in the maintenance of mental health, offering a holistic approach that not only strengthens the body but also nurtures the mind. If you need additional support for your mental health, consider talking to a San Diego psychiatrist. At Sacred Psychiatric, our dedicated professionals are committed to helping you achieve mental wellness. We offer a range of services, including medication management and holistic treatment options, to support your mental health journey. Whether you are dealing with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health concern, our compassionate staff is here to assist you.


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