Exercise may help! Research has shown that certain levels of physical activity can positively affect mental health – stress, depression, anxiety.
People with higher levels of fitness are capable of handling stress more effectively than those who are less fit. Cardiovascular exercise is the activity that benefits stress reduction the most. Cardiovascular exercise (often referred to as cardio) is any exercise that raises your heart rate. This usually involves using the large muscles in your body – walking, running, biking, skating, etc.
The antidepressant action is one of the most commonly accepted psychological benefits of exercise. Studies have shown that exercise can reduce stress more effectively than antidepressant drugs. Both cardiovascular and resistance exercise seem to be equally effective. Both a one-time exercise session and long term programs have positive results. However, greater improvement is seen after several weeks of regular exercise. Both men and women show the positive effect of exercise on depression.
Research also shows a reduction of anxiety with exercise. Even short bursts (5 minutes) of cardiovascular exercise stimulate anti-anxiety effects. Again, regular training offers the greatest benefits. .
So to reduce your Holiday Stress, reduce your Holiday Blues, and burn the extra holiday calories – exercise! If you need a little help getting started, join some activity programs that are available or consult with a personal trainer.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.