Does the thought of “exercise” make you cringe? Do you dread having to do a certain “workout” because your favorite celebrity swears by it? Listen up vet pros – in this article, we are sharing the numerous well-being benefits of movement and how choosing to move can boost our mood!
The Connection Between Exercise and Mood
Research has demonstrated that engaging in brisk walking for just 20 minutes, three times a week, can be as effective as antidepressant medications in reducing depressive symptoms! While medications certainly have their place in mental health treatment, it’s empowering to know that something as simple as going for a walk a few times per week can have a positive impact on our mood. There is even a push for healthcare providers to get trained in the Exercise is Medicine protocol, where physical activity is measured as a vital sign since it is so highly connected to our physical and mental health!
The Release of Endorphins
If you’ve ever seen one of my favorite movies, Legally Blonde, then you will surely recognize Elle Wood’s famous quote: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!” And we can’t deny the science behind this statement! Have you ever experienced the feeling of a “runner’s high” or an overall sense of well-being after exercise? This phenomenon can be attributed to the release of endorphins, which are commonly referred to as the happy hormones! When we move our bodies, whether it’s walking, running, dancing, or any other form of activity, our bodies release those endorphins, boosting our feelings of pleasure, reducing stress, and alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety!
Stretching for Stress Relief
Beyond the cardiovascular benefits of exercise, even gentle stretching can have a profound impact on our mental well-being! Studies have shown that incorporating regular stretching routines into our daily lives can help relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety. Taking a few moments each day to stretch our bodies not only promotes physical flexibility and releases tension, but also provides a calming effect on our minds. The mind-body connection is powerful, and by caring for our bodies, we can positively influence our mental state too!
Physical Activity is NOT a Replacement for Therapy
While physical activity greatly benefits our mental health, it’s definitely not the one-and-only solution for supporting our mental well-being. If you find yourself in crisis, distress, or experiencing persistent mental health challenges, it is important to reach out to a qualified healthcare professional or call/text 988 for the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Professionals can provide the necessary support, guidance, and personalized treatment options to help you on your journey to mental well-being.
Choosing to move our bodies and incorporate regular exercise into our lives can have a profound impact on our mood and overall mental well-being. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a run, or gentle stretching, the act of physical activity releases endorphins and reduces stress, promoting a more positive mental state. Remember that you have the ability to take control of your well-being and make choices that positively influence your mind and body!