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How Exercise Alleviates Anxiety and Depression

According to recent studies, regular exercise works as well as medication for many people to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.  Surprisingly the effects can be long lasting with fewer side effects than medications. One vigorous exercise session can help alleviate symptoms for hours, and a regular schedule may significantly reduce them over time. 

Regular exercise probably helps ease depression in a number of ways, which may include:

·         Releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids)

·         Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression

·         Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects

 Running, lifting weights, cycling, yoga and other fitness activities that get your heart pumping can help. But so can physical activity such as gardening, walking around the block or engaging in other less intense activities. Any physical activity that gets you moving can help improve your mood.  You also don't have to do all your exercise or other physical activity at once. Broaden how you think of exercise and find ways to add small amounts of physical activity throughout your day. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park a little farther away from work to fit in a short walk or consider biking to work.  

Science has also provided some evidence that physically active people have lower rates of anxiety and depression than sedentary people. Exercise may improve mental health by helping the brain cope better with stress. In one study, researchers found that those who got regular vigorous exercise were 25 percent less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder over the next five years. 

For more information on natural methods to treat anxiety and depression call Northwest Wellness in Federal Way, WA at 2539270660.