Lots of research supports the benefits of exercise to make us less vulnerable to anxiety and depression. In fact, we know that exercise is as effective in the treatment of depression as the SSRI drugs. Why does this matter to our health and wellness? Mental illness is a state of ongoing stress reactivity. We experience it in our depressed or anxious mood, but the stress hormones continuously released are corrosive to the healthy function of our physiological systems in ways we don’t directly experience — until they show up in pain and or disease. At that point, the mood problems are part of the bigger picture of unwellness. A holistic approach is crucial, however exercise will always be part of it — for prevention, and for healing.
Here’s a good and concise review, including this encouragement that it’s OK to be a weekend warrior if you can’t fin the time to exercise during the week.
A recent study in the UK found that people who squeeze their exercise routines into one or two sessions at the weekend experience almost as many health benefits as those who work out more often. So don’t let a busy schedule at work, home, or school be an excuse to avoid activity. Get moving whenever you can find the time—your mind and body will thank you!
Just remember to respect your fitness level and not injure yourself!