Active Lifestyle Is Vital To A Balanced Mood
Have you ever noticed that when you stray away from a regular routine of getting physical activity, you feel blue? That’s because human bodies are designed for regular physical activity. The inactivity characteristic of so many people today undermines both general health and brain health. It almost certainly plays a big role in the modern depression epidemic. An active lifestyle is one of the keys to maintaining a balanced mood.
The fact that we spend so much time sitting – in cars, or in front of TVs or computers – is one of the most significant differences between the lifestyles of “advanced” societies and those of primitive ones. This is likely a major reason these pre-industrial people – or people who have opted out of industrial lifestyles, such as the Amish – enjoy much greater contentment than we do, and have extremely low rates of major depression.
Many studies have shown that patients with depression who follow and stick with an aerobic exercise regimen:
- Improve as much as those patients whom are treated with medication
- Are less likely to relapse
In addition, the data suggests that exercise can help prevent depression and boost the mood of people who are healthy. More research is needed to determine how exercise plays a role – as well as to determine what kind and how much exercise is optimal. Regardless, exercise should be part of an emotional well-being integrative treatment plan.
Most prospective studies have used walking or jogging programs, but some research finds nonaerobic exercise like strength and flexibility training – as well as yoga – to be effective, too. Typical therapeutic exercise programs last for 8 to 14 weeks with 3 to 4 sessions a week of at least 20 to 30 minutes. For treatment of depression and anxiety disorders, activities of moderate intensity such as brisk walking are more successful than vigorous activity.