My youngest was diagnosed with anxiety some time ago. Unlike many of purported diagnoses of kids nowadays. I believe this is real deal. She received a prescription, and the medication has been a big help. Fortunately, she has a therapist who has made clear the medication is not a permanent solution. Among other things, he has told her to get some exercise. That was music to my ears.
My fatherly intuition, however unerring, is one thing. Medical expertise is another. Let’s see what the good people at the Mayo Clinic have to say.
Regular exercise may help ease depression and anxiety by:
- Releasing feel-good endorphins, natural cannabis-like brain chemicals (endogenous cannabinoids) and other natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being.
- Taking your mind off worries so you can get away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression and anxiety
Regular exercise has many psychological and emotional benefits, too. It can help you:
- Gain confidence. Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance.
- Get more social interaction. Exercise and physical activity may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighborhood can help your mood.
- Cope in a healthy way. Doing something positive to manage depression or anxiety is a healthy coping strategy. Trying to feel better by drinking alcohol, dwelling on how you feel, or hoping depression or anxiety will go away on its own can lead to worsening symptoms.
Some research shows that physical activity such as regular walking — not just formal exercise programs — may help improve mood. Physical activity and exercise are not the same thing, but both are beneficial to your health.
Physical activity is any activity that works your muscles and requires energy and can include work or household or leisure activities. Exercise is a planned, structured, and repetitive body movement done to improve or maintain physical fitness.
Doing 30 minutes or more of exercise a day for three to five days a week may significantly improve depression or anxiety symptoms. But smaller amounts of physical activity — as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time — may make a difference. It may take less time exercising to improve your mood when you do more-vigorous activities, such as running or bicycling.
The mental health benefits of exercise and physical activity may last only if you stick with it over the long term — another good reason to focus on finding activities that you enjoy.
— • —
Alternate take. (My favorite line: Do you realize know how much blood is in the human body? Do you want to see it motherfucker?)