People often ask, "Why should people exercise?"....or "Why is exercise important?". In this step, you will learn the benefits to exercise in relation to stress, anxiety and depression. You will also begin to take steps to incorporate it into your daily routine.
I'm not going to mislead you here! If you are not used to exercising...physical exercise is a difficult thing to bring into your life on a regular basis, however, it is one of the most beneficial habits that you can create for yourself. Not only does exercise benefit the body but it benefits the mind as well.
So, tell me, why should I exercise?
Exercise is crucial for people who suffer with stress, anxiety and depressive disorders. Please keep these reasons in mind as you work on making exercise a priority in your life. It is through exercise that you will be able to combat the other negative symptoms that come with stress, anxiety and depression.
All of these are VERY IMPORTANT reasons and will contribute to your recovery!
- Exercise increases serotonin, dopamine and nor-epinephrine. These chemicals are responsible for regulating mood. They relieve depression and also increase positive self-image. They are called our "feel good" brain chemicals for a reason.
- Exercise burns up excess adrenaline.Too much adrenaline contributes to adrenal fatigue and produces nervous symptoms in the body that are the main contributors to anxiety and panic. They also contribute to the fight or flight associated with panic.
- Exercise promotes a better sleep cycle. By raising your heart rate for approximately 20 minutes or more during exercise, you are inducing a more relaxed heart rate when you relax and sleep at night. Chances are good that you will be able to achieve a deeper, more productive sleep cycle when you exercise regularly.
- Exercise helps regular blood sugar and blood pressure. High stress and anxiety can lead to high blood pressure, as well as other physical ailments.
- Exercise increases mental focus and clarity. When dealing with chronic stress, anxiety, or depression, it is common to experience what many call brain fog, confusion, memory loss, etc. Therefore, with exercise you are helping to combat those symptoms and bring balance to your mind.
- Exercise increases oxygen in the blood. More oxygen means better health and less disease. This also means limiting your risks for stress related illnesses. So many stress related illnesses can be avoided if we only took better care of ourselves.
- Exercise increases energy and also improves organ function. If you're tired and feel fatigued from stress, anxiety or depression, exercise will help you build more energy. This is a hard one since people feel too tired to begin with, but I assure you, if you want energy....you are going to have to create it by exercising! You will feel better and more energized!
- Exercise helps manage your weight. If you are overweight, exercise helps burn extra calories and if you are underweight, exercise will definitely increase your appetite so you will eat more. Exercise is the perfect weight balancing system. Learn to listen to your body, it's smarter than you realize.
Pick an Exercise Plan You Can Work With
When it comes to exercise, you won't do it if you don't enjoy it! So pick an exercise plan that you enjoy! If you enjoy dancing, then dance! If you enjoy biking, then bike! If you enjoy working out to an exercise DVD, then do that! It doesn't matter what you do for an exercise plan, it just matters that you exercise.
Now is a good time to learn progressive muscle relaxation methods or even isometric exercises. These types of exercises, although different from aerobic and strength exercises, have a profound effect on training your muscles to relax. If these exercises are done enough, you can actually train yourself to relax them on command. Imagine that!
Step 3 Actions:
1. Work on incorporating exercise into your daily routine. Spend at least 20 minutes each day on your preferred type of exercise, such as aerobic, strength, or toning exercises. *Consult with your physician prior to doing this, especially if you currently suffer with a physical problem or are currently taking medication for a pre-existing condition.
3. Write in a journal each day (preferably before bedtime). Don't pressure yourself, just write whatever comes to mind. Use the Journal Entry Worksheet if you don't have a journal.
4. Do the Positive Thought Replacement worksheet at least once a day. If your thoughts are running rampant and going through a particularly hard time, it helps to do this worksheet as many times possible throughout the day. As silly as this feels, it is very important that you do not skip this exercise.
6. When you get into a good routine with your diet and exercise plan, you can then move ahead to Step 4.
Do not move forward until you are ready!