Sometimes, we just need a pick-me-up. You know, something to make us feel better or cheer us up. We’ve all been there. But you might be surprised that the solution isn’t grabbing a beer with your buddies or binge-watching the latest Netflix series—though both of those things are great! No, the solution is… exercise!
It’s true—a recent study found that exercise has a significant, positive effect on mood and can even reduce depression symptoms. Even more excitingly, the study found that it doesn’t take much to see these results: Just 20 minutes of exercise three times a week can have significant benefits for your mental health.
So, go out there and get moving! It’ll do your body AND mind good.
Exercise therapy is a form of treatment for mental health disorders. Many different forms of exercise can be used in therapy, but some of the most common ones for people just breaking into a new route are low-intensity interval training, jogging, and walking.
Why Exercise Therapy?
Mental health disorders like depression and anxiety can be debilitating. In fact, it’s estimated that about 20% of adults suffer from mental illness each year. While there are many different treatments available for these conditions, recent studies have shown that exercise therapy may be highly effective.
Exercise therapy has been shown to improve mental health by reducing anxiety and depression, as well as improving the overall quality of life in those with mild to severe mental illness.
One study found that people who did vigorous exercise at least three times per week had fewer symptoms of depression than those who did not exercise at all.
Another study found similar results: after six weeks of aerobic exercise training, participants reported improvements in mood and self-esteem compared to those who did not do any type of physical activity during this time period.
In addition to these benefits, exercise may also help reduce stress levels which can lead to better sleep habits or an increased ability to focus on tasks throughout the day (such as work or school).
In addition, some research suggests that aerobic exercise can help prevent cognitive decline associated with aging by strengthening connections between brain cells
Exercise has been utilized to treat physical ailments for centuries, but it’s only in recent years that it has become more common to use it to treat mental health issues, as well.
Exercise therapy can assist those dealing with mental health concerns by:
- Increasing their confidence levels
- Providing them some relief from anxiety and daily stress
- Giving them more energy throughout the day
- Aiding them in sleep
- Providing them with some relief from depression
- Helping them develop a routine
What’s The Science Behind Exercise Therapy?
The scientific rationale behind using exercise therapy is the way that physical activity affects the brain’s neurochemistry.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Exercise induces multiple changes in the brain that facilitate neuroplasticity and may enhance cognitive function (e.g. executive function, memory), emotional regulation (e.g., affect and mood), and social cognition (e.g., empathy).”
The study goes on to say that these shifts can occur even after a single workout session, and continue to build over time.
Additionally, the National Institute for Health Research says that exercise therapy can be used in conjunction with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or other psychotherapies for people suffering from depression or anxiety disorders because it helps them overcome barriers to recovering from their mental illness by reducing symptoms even when they are not in therapy sessions.
Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, helping it function better. It also increases the production of endorphins, which are chemicals in your brain that make you feel happy.
Endorphins From Exercise
Exercise has the ability to produce all sorts of helpful chemicals in the brain.
It’s not just about the endorphins–exercise for mental health goes way beyond that.
Mental health is a complex thing. It’s easy to chalk it up to genetics, biology, or simply your mindset. While all of these things are true, science has shown that exercise can also have a very powerful impact on mental health.
We usually think of the physical benefits of exercise, but what about the mental ones? The science is pretty clear: moving your body regularly has a positive impact on everything from depression and anxiety to the overall mood and brain function.
What Other Chemicals Are Produced From Exercise?
You’ve probably heard about the endorphins released by exercise, but there’s a lot more science behind it than that. The reason we can feel better when we’re working out is that our brains are releasing a whole cocktail of hormones, including dopamine and serotonin, which are both tied to happiness.
Exercise also releases norepinephrine, which helps you focus and improves memory. All in all, moving your body releases all kinds of chemicals that make you feel good—and those are exactly the kinds of chemicals we want more of in our lives!
But wait! There’s more! The connection between exercise and mental health is even stronger than we thought it was; according to this article in the Wall Street Journal:
“Though scientists have known that physical activity promotes brain health and helps prevent depression, they didn’t know exactly why until recently. New research shows that exercise prompts the brain to release a protein called FNDC5… which later becomes a hormone called irisin.”
This hormone helps your brain adapt to stress by growing more neurons. These new neurons are capable of creating new connections, which help your brain weather stressful situations.
Give Exercise A Try
According to the American Psychological Association, roughly one-third of Americans have experienced serious stress or depression to the point of considering seeking professional help. Many of us have talked about it with our families and friends, but we haven’t done anything about it.
If you’ve considered seeking help for a mental health issue, Exerpy is here to tell you that exercise is a great place to start. Research shows that exercise is just as effective as medication at relieving symptoms of anxiety and can improve mild symptoms of depression.
A recent study from the University of Texas at Austin found that aerobic exercise was just as effective as Zoloft in treating mild to moderate depression.
Exerpy has become the lifeline for many people when they are going through some pretty significant emotional issues. After a few sessions of your Exerpy program, you’ll quickly see how useful of a therapy it is.
And while working out may not be the magic pill that suddenly and instantly cures all your problems, it has been shown to help people regulate their emotions, cope with stress and improve overall well-being.
The first step is getting started — and that’s why we’re here today.
Exerpy – Exercise Therapy For Mental Health
Awareness of mental health has never been greater, and the stigma of seeking help is increasingly viewed as outdated and judgmental. The American Psychological Association estimates that about one in five adults in the U.S. suffers from mental illness, which is about 43 million people.
And according to Mental Health America, only 41 percent of adults with a mental health condition received mental health services in 2017 — that’s nearly 60 million Americans who would benefit from therapy but aren’t getting it.
So why aren’t more people seeking treatment? One reason is the cost: Individual therapy can run between $75 and $200 (or more) per session, with some insurance plans covering only a portion of the cost or none at all.
Another factor is access: About 46 million Americans live in areas designated by the federal government as having “insufficient” or “inadequate” mental health care resources. Even for those who do receive treatment, there can be additional barriers to care: If a person lives far from their therapist’s office, transportation issues can make attending sessions difficult.
This was one of the reasons why Exerpy was created.
- The price packages are affordable
- You can do exercise therapy from the comfort of your own home
- You’ll have confidential email/chat communication with Exerpy
If you’re feeling down, consider giving Exerpy’s free trial a try! It’s extremely rare to feel worse off after a good workout, and we’ll be with you every step of the way.