Trans4mind Home Page

Fight Anxiety and Depression with These Four Exercises

By Mikkie Mills

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, almost seven percent of the adult population in the United States had one or more major episodes of depression in 2012. Globally, that number rises to 350 million, based on information from the World Health Organization. Estimates go even higher when it comes to anxiety. The Anxiety and Depression Association of American says anxiety affects 18.1 percent of Americans over the age of 18 every year. Although anxiety is easily treated, fewer than 40 percent of sufferers receive treatment.

Harvard Study on Exercise and Depression

Medications and counseling help many people, but they are only a part of the entire picture when it comes to treating mental illnesses. Lifestyle, diet, and exercise also play a crucial role. In a study done in 2013 at Harvard Medical School, researchers found that exercise can be as effective as medication in some people. Dr. Michael Craig Miller, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard, says, “For some people it works as well as antidepressants, although exercise alone isn’t enough for someone with severe depression.”

Dr. Miller says that depressed or anxious people often find it hard to get motivated and recommends starting with only five minutes of exercise, such as walking, each day and slowly building up to longer periods of activity. There is no magic formula, and it usually takes a few weeks to see the results. The activity must be continued to see lasting benefits.

How Exercise Helps

According to the research, exercise unleashes a flow of events that improve physical and mental health in the following ways:

  • Protects against diabetes and heart disease
  • Improves sleep
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Releases endorphins and burns off adrenaline
  • Improves self-esteem

While intense activity releases feel-good chemicals, researchers say the real benefit may be in less intense exercise over a sustained period of time. This is because it leads to the release of growth factors that cause nerve cells to expand and create new connections, resulting in improved brain function.

Four Exercises for Anxiety and Depression

Health.com recommends three specific exercises for relief from depression and anxiety: running, hiking in the woods, and yoga. Studies show that spending time in nature improves mood, and the health benefits of yoga go back thousands of years to ancient Vedic philosophy. Multiple studies have shown that yoga has a positive effect on both depression and anxiety, and some experts attribute the perks to yoga’s meditative state and emphasis on breathing. Yogic postures also calm down the nervous system and promote relaxation.

Qigong is another exercise that focuses on meditation and the breath. The martial arts practice comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine and stems from much the same theory as acupuncture: that illness in the caused by blocked energy in the body. It literally means “energy work”, and it works on the body’s meridians or energy pathways to move energy or “qi” through the internal organs, improving communication between them. It is more a “way of being” than a physical exercise and can easily be practiced alone or in a group. Exercises consist of simple routines of slow movements that pull energy into and through the body.

While no one disagrees that exercise is good for the mind, body, and spirit, it is also important to remember that, although it helps with mood disorders, it is not a cure. It improves mood and may even help to prevent relapse, but doctors emphasize that exercise alone is not enough to treat severe depression or anxiety disorder. Exercise works best when it is part of a regimen that inclu

des a healthy lifestyle, a good diet, a positive attitude, medical care, and a strong support system.
About Mikkie Mills: “I’m a Chicago native who loves to share her expertise about personal development and growth. When I’m not writing, I’m chasing the little ones around or rock climbing at the local climbing gym.” More articles by Mikkie
More Health & Fitness articles
Latest Additions

Good info on many topics:

Tools for Transformation

personal development
Trans4mind offers its visitors a huge range of complimentary personal development resources for self-directed education and transformation of the whole person...
HOW TO USE THESE FREE RESOURCES 
Introduction to our Tools for Transformation. We aim to open up the mind to new ideas, new challenges and new solutions - to think differently and be creative.
WORDS OF WISDOM 
Here are our favorite quotes. The best quotes distill powerful wisdom into a few words and can make a real difference to our perception and understanding. Including:
Life  Purpose, Spiritual  Awareness, Success and Abundance, Wisdom from the Heart, Happiness and Wellbeing, Communication & Relationships, Motivation and Leadership, Parenting and Education, Emotional Intelligence, Transitions in Life, Social Community, Quirky Quotes, Creativity, Proverbs, Humor - and many further topics in the Wisdom from the Heart section.
INSIDE-OUT BLOG 
Articles by Peter Shepherd and Wallace Huey. Imagine if the values of the heart could be brought into our families, communities, charities, organizations and businesses... what kind of a world would this create?
TRANS4MIND PODCASTS 
Audios by Peter Shepherd, focused on key personal development topics, to help advance your personal growth.
RAISE YOUR VIBRATION 
A free meditation program to help you experience the state of unconditional love - key to lasting joy and fulfillment in your life.
THE POSITIVE APPROACH 
Become more clear about your own identity, what you want in life - your life vision - and how to manifest your full potential. And then move on to the free New Life Course to advance in many further ways.
THE AFTERLIFE 
If we do actually have a soul, then where does it go after death? Near-death experiences provide convincing answers.
ONLINE BOOKS 
Check out our fascinating collection of complete books for you to read online, including Peter Shepherd’s Transforming the Mind, which created the foundation of this site back in 1997.
EBOOK DOWNLOADS 
Over 250 PDFs to freely download covering many personal development topics - and including the range of Trans4mind publications.
KNOW YOUR OWN MIND 
Free personality test based on the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. See yourself as others may see you, in a more objective light, so you can know yourself better.
AND LOTS MORE 
Our site is expansive, including loads of helpful resources. See what else we have.

Check out the menus on the top of every page too!

Hypnosis Downloads

Support your personal development with these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

This is our selection of favorites, but there's a session for every need! Choose from over 800 Hypnosis Downloads...
Search now on an issue that interests or concerns you...
 

View all the Hypnosis Downloads here

Copyright © 1997-2018 Trans4mind Ltd
Terms of Use & Privacy Policy       Email Webmaster