Happiness Is a Good Sweat

Evidence that exercise may help prevent depression.

May is mental health awareness month. As many runners can attest, a good run can immediately boost your spirits. In addition, several studies show that exercise can help treat some forms of mild-moderate depression. However, a recent study suggests that exercise may actually help prevent depression.

The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, suggests that exercise may prevent depression. The study included nearly 34,000 Norwegian adults without symptoms of depression or anxiety at the start of the study and followed participants over 11 years (1984-1997). Researchers examined how many hours and with what intensity participants exercised and collected data regarding the development of signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety.

The results showed that those participants who reported doing no exercise at all had a 44% increased likelihood of being diagnosed with depression compared to those who exercised 1-2 hours a week. That exercise was of mild-moderate exertion, not over-the-top all-out effort. Participants who exercised were as likely as those who did not exercise to develop anxiety.

This study is important because it studied participants without depression or anxiety at the start of the study and followed them over time. The study has a large sample size and was controlled for other variables that may have impacted the development of depression and anxiety such as socio-economic status, BMI, substance use, and new-onset physical illness. Of note, the study was performed in Norway, which may limit how the results can be applied to other countries with different mental health resources.

If you are currently experiencing depression or anxiety, remember that it is important to seek help from a trusted mental health professional.

Do you need some mood-boosting exercise opportunities? Get 2 the Core can help develop a plan that is right for you!

Go For Your Gold

Watching elite athletes pour their hearts onto the ice or ski slopes in their pursuit of Olympic gold is inspiring.  Whatever our own level of fitness, we can channel our inner Olympian in more ways than we might imagine.

Olympic athletes, like any of us, focus on working towards an achievable goal, and they adapt and adjust as they encounter injuries and other life obstacles. In order to reach their fitness goals of speed, strength, and endurance, they shape their lifestyle to support those goals. They fuel themselves with a balanced, healthy diet. They train their minds to focus on positive thoughts and resilience. Olympic athletes visualize themselves speeding, reaching across that finish line to win. They visualize each step in their run or performance so that in the final race their bodies follow where their minds have been so many times before.

This is the same for all of us in our fitness journey. To simply have a goal of running a 5K or losing ten pounds is not enough without placing it in the context of creating a lifestyle of health in mind, body, and spirit. How much time will you dedicate to cross training or prepping your meals?  Visualize your success, whether it’s envisioning your sprint across the finish line, sweaty cardio workout, or eating a healthy, wholesome meal. Like any athlete, make sure you are hydrated and drink the amount of water you need. Visualize yourself looking thinner, stronger- whatever your goal may be, visualize yourself doing it. Live it, breathe it,  Believe it just like the Olympians do!

!I can help you identify your goals and ways to support your goals through diet, exercise, and mindfulness. Together we can identify barriers that are holding you back, which of those barriers we can work to overcome, and which barriers we need to work around.

This winter as you work towards your fitness goals, channel your inner Olympic athlete and visualize your success on your journey towards a healthy lifestyle.