Beat the Blues & Improve Your Health

By Amanda Upchurch, ATC

 

Beat the Blues & Improve your Health

By: Amanda Upchurch, MEd, ATC, LAT

Life can throw unexpected difficulties, problems and sadness our
way. We live in a culture that is constantly seeking instant
gratification and the opportunity to get something for nothing. People
often want benefits without work and satisfaction without sacrifice.
Depression and anxiety is on the rise in Western society, affecting
one-in-six people at some point in their life. Prozac and its
competitors have spawned best-selling books, racked up sales more
than $10 billion annually and reshaped the clinical treatment of
depression. Anti-depressants are a quick fix, but often have side
effects such as: tremors, nausea, weight gain, sexual dysfunction and
complications with other drugs.
A growing body of literature shows that aerobic routines as well as
weight lifting are effective at combating depression. Exercise is
useful in managing feelings of depression and anxiety for a number of
reasons:
• Exercise is not only just as effective and less expensive, but all of its side effects are beneficial.
• Exercise often increases self-confidence and enhances self-esteem, by gaining new skills, improving body image, becoming
fitter and looking healthier.
• The benefits last longer than quick-fixes such as comfort-eating, smoking or caffeine consumption.
• Exercise triggers your body to produce endorphins (feel-good chemicals) allowing you to instantly feel better and happier.
• Exercise removes the build-up of stress hormones hindering wellbeing, causing headaches, fatigue, loss of concentration and
insomnia.
Research also supports that there is a round-the-clock relief that sets in several weeks after the establishment of a regular exercise
routine.
It is best to start with a short duration and increase gradually. People who are depressed may not feel much like being active, but
they should make themselves do it anyway. Once people get into the exercise habit, it won’t take long to notice a change in mood
and a new discovered sense of motivation and urgency to exercise.

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