“Even Small Amounts Of Exercise Could Improve Your Mental Health”
DEPRESSION & EXERCISE
Could crushing a workout help conquer depression? More and more research is proving that for some people, exercise may work just as well as anti-depressant drugs.
Whether you have a temporary case of the blues or have been diagnosed with depression, researchers believe that exercise and a healthy diet positively affects the way your brain works.
Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression. It is also the leading cause of disability worldwide.
Depression is very complex. Doctors and researchers are not clear on what causes it, but they know it can happen in various levels of severity, different lengths of time, and for multiple reasons.
Some factors that may contribute to the chance someone will suffer from depression include:
- Brain Chemistry
- Stressful Life Events/Personal Problems
- Major Life Events
- Substance Abuse
- Abuse (physical/mental)
There are some effective pharmacological treatments for depression; however, many people do not want to take antidepressants that come with a long list of unpleasant side effects. For this reason, more people are looking to diet, exercise, and dietary supplements as a natural way to enhance mood.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE BRAIN WHEN YOU EXERCISE?
It’s been long known that exercise has numerous positive effects on mood. It not only increases blood flow to the brain, but it also releases endorphins, the body’s natural anti-depressant, and serotonin, which lifts your mood.
In recent years, scientists have been focusing on researching the mental benefits of physical exercise, especially in those that are clinically depressed. They have discovered that exercise affects brain chemistry in a lot of different ways.
In addition to what happens to the brain and body when we exercise, a structured exercise program can also help those with depression by giving them higher self-esteem, purpose, and structure. It can also be a distraction, allowing a sufferer to have some quiet time away from the negativity that feeds a lousy mood.
WHAT DOES SCIENCE SAY?
There are countless studies on the topic of mood and exercise. Most have found significant improvements when someone with a mood disorder incorporates exercise.
Some studies have even examined if exercise has the same effect on mood as anti-depressant drugs. One found that those who exercised at a moderate level for about 40 minutes three to five days each week experienced a significant anti-depressant effect. This lead researchers to believe that exercise could be just as good as medication.
Decades of studies provide consistent evidence that physical activity not only can instantly boost happiness but even prevent future depression.
ARE SOME FORMS OF EXERCISE BETTER THAN OTHERS FOR BOOTING MOOD?
Researchers have done some studies comparing the effects of aerobic type cardio vs. lifting in people with depression. Most found no noticeable difference in the type of activity someone chooses to do. However, some research suggests that HIIT style training may be the most beneficial.
First of all, researchers have found that even short bursts of exercise can boost mood. That is precisely what HIIT is. A bonus is that HIIT can be formulated to be different every single time you train, which could also keep you from getting bored.
Researchers have also found that strenuous exercise may be more beneficial because it increases the neurotransmitters glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA.) These are neurotransmitters that are responsible for chemical messaging within the brain. Those with major depressive disorders often have depleted levels of both of these neurotransmitters.
Other studies have found that HIIT also boosts a protein called BDNF, which is associated with mood regulation. Low levels of BDNF are associated with numerous mood disorders, including depression.
For an added boost, researchers have found that you may want to take your workout outdoors. Exercising outside comes with the added advantage of being exposed to sunlight (vitamin D), which affects our pineal glands and can further boost mood.
The biggest thing to consider when exercising to fight off the blues is that it has to feel positive. If you are feeling down, you must find an exercise program that you can do without total dread. Remember that workouts don’t have to be torturous! Try to figure out what exercises will be the most enjoyable, then mix them up so that you don’t get bored!
Now, if you get anxious just thinking about going to the gym we’ve all been there, don’t worry. Choosing the right program, looking silly doing exercises wrong, having zero clue about which exercises to do or how to do them can be enough to send you into a full-blown anxiety-attack complete with throwing your hands in the air and relieving that anxiety with a tub or two of Ben and Jerry’s.
But before you throw in the towel, remember that finding the correct diet and exercise program could dramatically improve your mental and physical health. Looking and feeling amazing is a great way to give depression the boot.
It’s actually super simple to find the diet and workout program that perfectly pairs with YOUR body, your lifestyle, and your goals. Seriously, it takes less than a minute to discover when you take this groundbreaking quiz.
Simply answer a few questions and the algorithm will lead you to the diet and exercise plan that is 100% perfect for your body. No frustration. No anxiety. Just rapid results you can enjoy from day 1.
WHAT ABOUT DIET?
Researchers have long believed that poor diet results in poor mental health and that a healthy diet can reduce the symptoms of depression. In one major study, the dieting group drastically reduced depression symptoms, and more than 32% of participants experienced remission, meaning they were no longer considered depressed.
There does not seem to be one specific diet that works best for managing the symptoms of depression. However, research was performed using more whole foods (specifically those high in protein and fiber) and lower amounts of processed and refined foods.
They found that there are some specific foods and nutrients that may play a role in reducing symptoms of depression.
- Selenium: Low selenium levels are linked to poor moods.
- Vitamin D: A deficiency in vitamin D is associated with depression.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Omega 3’s are associated with keeping the brain working at optimal levels. This could reduce the risk of mood disorders.
- Zinc: Zinc levels tend to be lower in those diagnosed with clinical depression.
- Antioxidants: Vitamin E, C, and A helps in fighting free-radicals. These nutrients may help lessen stress symptoms associated with depression.
- B Vitamins: Vitamin B12 and vitamin B9 specifically. Both of these B Vitamins are connected to a reduced risk of mood disorders.
- Protein High In Tryptophan: Serotonin deficiency has been heavily studied as a significant cause of depression. Including foods rich in tryptophan, like lean turkey or chickpeas, could help relieve symptoms.
There has also been emerging research that discovered that gut bacteria play a major role in mood disorders such as depression. One study proved that probiotics, in both supplement form and from fermented foods, resulted in significant reductions in depression.
THE FLIP SIDE: A BAD MOOD CAN ALSO KEEP YOU FROM TRAINING
If you have ever had a bad day, you probably have fallen into one of two categories. Either you can’t wait to get to the gym because you know a sweat session will make you feel better. Or that bad mood results in a spiral of emotions that sends your motivation plummeting. You skip the gym reach for a pint of ice cream out of the freezer.
If someone is suffering from a severe case of the blues or has been diagnosed with clinical depression, they may not be exercising because they are depressed. Depression manifests physically, which can result in less motivation to exercise and stick to a diet. This may leave you in a catch-22 situation. You know exercise could help your mood, but being down leaves you with no energy or motivation to work out. This only adds to the low self-esteem that comes with depression.
So, what can you do? Here are some tips for when your mood may lower motivation.
Start Small – Setting lofty goals may leave you more upset if you fall short. It is best to set achievable goals and build from there. One example of an achievable goal would be walking for 30 minutes a day. Studies show this can help you lose weight, lower your stress level and improve your blood pressure. Walking outdoors exposes you to natural sunlight which helps fight off seasonal depression and boost your mood.
Workout At Home – Depression can also lead to social-anxiety making the gym feel even less appealing. But the good news is, you don’t have to have a gym membership to break a sweat. Try incorporating this 5 minute at home H.I.I.T workout into your daily routine to get your blood pumping and your mood lifted.
If that feels like too much, you can look at your daily routine and consider ways to sneak inactivity. Clean your house, wash the car, do some lawn work or gardening, walk your dog, play with your kids, or even just put on some music and dance in your living room!
Recruit Family Or Friends – Exercising with a friend or loved one can make being active more enjoyable. When you’re suffering from a mood disorder, you may not feel like being around other people, but companionship can be just as important as the exercise itself.
Do Something Different – Doing the same thing over and over can lead to boredom and even land you in a fitness plateau. If you don’t feel like doing your scheduled workout, try something new, and see if that helps.
Remember that you don’t have to set aside an hour if you don’t feel up to it. Even a short, 30-minute walk can help boost your energy, improve your mood, and clear your mind. Plus, as you start to move, you may feel motivation increasing. This could leave you ready to tackle a full workout that you thought you weren’t in the mood to do!
OTHER NATURAL MOOD BOOSTING METHODS
A bad mood can result in brain fog and a lack of focus. Depression or not, if focusing is a problem for you, natural mood-enhancing nootropics may be something you want to consider.
In short, nootropics improve your cognitive abilities. This could be anything from focus and mood to memory. Some studies have shown that some nootropics, like Piper Nigrum Fruit Extract, L-Theanine, Alpinia Galanga Extract and Bacopa Monnieri, can naturally make you happier.
Think of nootropics as a workout in a pill for your brain. They can literally make your brain “larger” through BDNF, function faster by improving your cognitive abilities, and stress-resistant, all while improving your mental energy and focus.
While everyone else at work is coasting, you can have nootropics exercising your brain, making it faster, stronger, more agile. Talk about gaining a leg-up on the competition! You can unlock your brain’s full potential, and begin performing like a superstar at the office, in the gym, in the classroom, and in every aspect of your life.
Now, finding powerful brain builders like Piper Nigrum Fruit Extract, L-Theanine, Alpinia Galanga Extract and Bacopa Monnieri can be a real pain. Not only are pure, effective sources hard to find, but they have to be dosed precisely so they can all work together to help your cognitive abilities soar.
Thankfully, NEUROCTANE, a breakthrough Nootropic cocktail, contains all of these supernutrients in the exact amounts needed to help you battle mental stress, improve performance, and build a bulletproof brain.
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WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
So, can you really diet and exercise away anxiety and depression? It seems that science says, YES! Either way, it’s safe to say that it certainly can’t hurt!
If you need help structuring a workout and nutrition program that is best for you and your body type, make sure and take our FREE 1-min quiz. We’ll match you with the best diet and training plan for your exact body type and goals. Plus, we give you three free tips that you can start using today to help you get started on your journey to better health and more happiness!