Are you engaged in any physical activity? You might have tried swimming, cycling, jogging, brisk walking, or even stretching? Medical experts say that these activities help promote cardiovascular health. According to the latest guidelines released by the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine, all healthy adults ages 18–65 should be getting at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity five days of the week. However, there are additional guidelines for older adults, ages 65 and older, or for those adults aged 50-64 with chronic conditions or physical functional limitations that affect movement ability or physical fitness.
Physical exercise can improve both your mental and physical health. The benefits of aerobic exercise include improved cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength, and flexibility. Exercise pumps more blood through your veins. This increases the size of your arteries, prevents fat from clogging your arteries, and helps prevent blood clots. A strong heart does not have to work so hard so you are less likely to have a heart attack. Regular exercise also increases your good cholesterol and helps lower your total cholesterol level. In addition, exercise helps lower your blood pressure. Your lungs benefit from exercise by becoming better conditioned. As a result, a person no longer breathes heavily after doing a physical activity like climbing a long flight of stairs. Muscles that are not used or exercised become small and inelastic. On the other hand, aerobic exercise helps tone the body by increasing muscle size, strength, and flexibility — while burning calories at the same time. Moreover, exercise is also a good depression treatment. Depression can be one of the most debilitating experiences in life. Depression is a disorder that affects your thoughts, moods, feelings, behavior and even your physical health. It makes you tired, so tired you want to go to bed and never get up. It can be a challenge to pull yourself out of that dark hole. People used to think that dealing with depression is easy or one can just get away with it. But doctors now know that depression is not a weakness, and it’s not something you can treat on your own. Depression is a medical disorder with a biological and chemical basis. Seeing your doctor should always be your first step in dealing with depression, but there are some ways you can deal with depression on a daily basis such as engaging in exercise.
Exercise has long been touted as a way to maintain physical fitness. It is a proven aid in preventing high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and other diseases. A growing volume of research shows that exercise also can help improve symptoms of certain mental conditions, such as depression. Exercise also may help prevent a relapse after treatment for depression. Research suggests that it may take at least 30 minutes of exercise a day for at least three to five days a week to significantly improve symptoms of depression. However, smaller amounts of activity such as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time have been shown to improve mood in the short term. Just how exercise reduces symptoms of depression isn’t fully understood. Researchers believe that exercise prompts changes in both mind and body. Medical experts proved that exercise positively affects the levels of certain mood-enhancing neurotransmitters in the brain. Exercise may also boost feel-good endorphins, release tension in muscles, help you sleep better and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It also increases body temperature, which may have calming effects. All of these changes in your mind and body can improve such symptoms as sadness, anxiety, irritability, stress, fatigue, anger, self-doubt and hopelessness.
If you exercise regularly but depression or anxiety still impairs your daily functioning, seek professional help. Exercise isn’t meant to replace medical treatment of depression. No matter how tired you may feel, getting up and moving around can bring some immediate relief for depression. Engaging yourself in a little exercise is an excellent way to work off some of that added stress you’re carrying around. It may seem impossible to get moving when you feel depressed but that’s exactly what you have to do.