Statistics indicate that approximately 25 percent of adults suffer from anxiety, depression, or both. Mental health patients often seek treatment in the form of professional counseling or prescription medication. However, studies indicate that exercise offers much in the way of treatment for a variety of mental health issues.
No Prescription Required
A prescription is not required to exercise. However, mental health sufferers who also have other underlying medical conditions should consult with a physician before starting an exercise program. There are no negative connotations associated with working out. Side effects may include sore muscles until the body adjusts to the routine. Exercise does not necessarily require expensive equipment or facility membership unless desired. Individuals have the option of engaging in traditional workout programs in the privacy of their home by following the instructions provided by a coach via internet video or DVD.
When someone experiences stress, muscles in the neck, shoulders, and back region become tense. Headaches may develop. If stress becomes chronic, muscle tension leads to painful cramps and spasms. Some suffer gastrointestinal problems, which may progress to ulcers. Ongoing stress also has the potential to cause cardiovascular disease. During exercise, the body releases endorphins and other chemical compounds, reducing pain, relaxing muscles, and relieving overall stress-related symptoms. Exercise that enhances cardiovascular fitness and overall strength relieves stress, which reduces anxiety and depression.
Improves Mood and Other Brain Functions
The chemical reactions that occur during exercise also benefit individuals diagnosed with ADHD, bipolar disorder, or depression. While working out, the brain releases dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. All of the compounds directly affect a variety of cognitive functions to include concentration, focus, memory, mood, and motivation. The ability to learn also improves. A beneficial cycle begins as mental health patients realize improvement. They are more likely to continue exercising, which maintains or further improves mental health.
Additional Biological Effects
Researchers reveal that exercise reduces inflammation, which reduces pain and muscle tension. Exercising improves neuron function while encouraging neural and neural pathway regeneration. The chemical released during the process also positively influences the way individuals respond to negative stimuli that often induce a stress response. In this way, the biological occurrences enhance brain function, which in turn improves mood.