Exercise has all sorts of beneficial effects on the body - and mind. There are old studies and new studies (with better instruments to help us verify and validate) the effects exercising has on the brain.
Doing a little strength training can be beneficial to our body, mind and mood. The stronger our muscle, the more energy our body and brain has to do things. Having a bit more energy to go and do the things that might help us, can really, well... help us!
It's not easy for someone who is feeling depressed to "just be happy", so sometimes getting help, can be a great start.
A client of Simply Stronger offered their experience and how the above was what ultimately helped them.
Below is their experience with anxiety, depression and how a combination of things including exercise, is helping them feel better.
Everything is not black or white in life!
There are many shades of grey and more colorful ones in life. But since my early childhood, it’s a grey cloud that hangs over my head. Sometimes it turns black and stress and anxiety take over. Sometimes it steps aside to make room for light and there’s hope. When you suffer from chronic anxiety, like I do, depression lurks ahead. It’s happened more often than I dare to admit. Talking about ill-being in a society as rich as ours, that’s tabou.
I’ve always functioned well… at work. On the surface, things looked fine. In reality, the minute I got home I was down in the dumps. I had low self-esteem and lived in total social isolation. No one suspected a thing. I slipped under the radar. So who could have helped me? Since I did not have an alcohol or drug problem, I could not relate to any of the support groups I heard of.
Finally at age 59, a doctor caught on to my distress and urged me to see a psychologist. That’s how I ended up attending weekly sessions of the Groupe depression et rétablissement lead by Sylvie Laurion, a psychologist and Marc-Éric Laurin, a social worker at the Verdun CLSC. Of all the tools they gave me to “break my lethargy”, there is one I simply cannot do without anymore: exercising. Why? Because it’s crucial to my survival.
Depressed people have a tendency to isolate themselves and are sedentary. It’s hard to break such habits. So I started with short daily walks. I then moved on to a strength training program with a personal trainer (Randall Lightbown of Simply Stronger). For me, that was the best way to get a grip on myself, stay motivated and a first step to breaking the cycle of social withdrawal.
The pleasant and secure environment of the gym at Le Sélection, Randall’s encouragement and the tangible physical results I get from my strength training sessions help me rebuild my self-esteem. This also lead to some lifestyle changes. I recently started a group Tai-Chi class and even developed new friendships.
Numerous scientific studies have proven that physical exercise stimulates neurogenesis (the development of new brain cells) which improves cognitive function and overall mood. Pretty interesting, isn’t it? A brain and body in better shape with good mood as a bonus! If that’s not an incentive to get me moving… I wonder what will.