3 workouts to beat anxiety and depression
As most people know, there is a powerful link between your physical and mental health. Evolutionary clinical psychologist and author, Ben Michaelis, explains that “The body is the mind and the mind is the body. When you take care of yourself, you are helping the whole system.”
“Needless to say, you should always consult with your doctor about your treatment options,” says Michaelis. “But it can’t hurt to incorporate exercise, of any kind, into your routine.” Research suggests that these three activities in particular could help alleviate the crippling symptoms of depression or anxiety.
Running causes changes in your mood and lasting changes in our "feel good" neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, both during and after exercise. In 2006, in a review published in The Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, researchers found evidence that cardiovascular exercise can work in a similar way to antidepressants, alleviating major depressive disorders by promoting the growth of new neurons in the brain. This has an almost meditative effect and is shown to help people sleep better.
2. Hiking in the woods
There’s nothing quite like getting back to nature. “Nature has a calming effect on the mind,” says Michaelis. “There is evidence that being around plants, trees, and especially decaying trees can help reduce anxiety because these plants emit chemicals to slow down the process of their decay, which appears to slow us down as well.” A recent study in Japan also have showed that participants who took just a 20-minute walk in the woods had lower stress hormone levels than the participants who had been left to their urban landscapes.
The major benefit of yoga is its focus on berating and self-awareness. Experts believe that this is because it’s physically difficult to be anxious when you’re breathing deeply. In 2012, a group of researchers conducted a review of trials that examined the effects of yoga on anxiety and stress. In 25 out of the 35 studies, subjects experienced a significant decrease in stress and anxiety symptoms after starting yoga.