Exercise as anti-depressant? Anti-Anxiety?

I was recently looking at the RemedyFind web site and noticed that the drug or therapy with the highest rating for treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder was Exercise:Aerobics. This is not too surprising as for generations fresh air and exercise have been considered something of a cure-all. But there is in fact probably a valid chemical reason for the anti-depressant effect of aerobic exercise.

 

As both high blood pressure and poor sleep can effect anxiety and depression anything which relieves these problems is liable to be beneficial. What’s more, a good aerobic workout can tackle both of those issues naturally. The evidence of the efficacy of exercise as a long term anxiety solution is anecdotal, and it is probably not the holy grail for people with severe anxiety and depression. But it may will be one more weapon in your arsenal.

 

Certainly I have seen people who claim swimming in the sea everyday to have cured a lingering depression and low mood, and that in a country where the climate is so harsh that swimming in the sea requires courage!


 

The general rule to learn from this is to look after our physical health. Lose a bit of weight, tackle cholesterol and blood pressure, get more fresh air, you will feel better for it. Speak to your doctor before starting to exercise.

 

For many people with minor anxiety or low level depression an exercise regime might prove more beneficial than a course of medication, especially when combined with therapy. In our modern lives it is easy to forget that we have to actually take steps and spend time looking after ourselves.

 

There is really no excuse: For me the best anxiety busting exercises are aerobics, hiking, swimming and jogging.

 

For people who feel such strenuous activity is beyond them yoga and pilates could be good.

 


Hitting a punch bag may or may not be good, some people claim it can make you more aggressive which is probably counter-productive when battling anxiety and depression. I will do some research and get back to you.

 

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