If you’re living with a mental health condition such as depression, you know it can feel like a monumental achievement just to get out of bed some days. Though moving around might be the last thing you want to do, exercise is one of the best all-natural remedies for depression. The mind-body connection can be one of your most powerful tools in recovering your mental well-being, boosting your mood and energy levels and helping you power through a slump. Read on for ideas to get you started – without leaving the house.
Yoga is an excellent all-around exercise for building strength and flexibility. It can also help calm you down if you’re feeling tense or anxious. While you may consider yoga to be a light-intensity exercise, doing specific poses in a continuous flow can provide a challenging cardio workout.
2. Bodyweight Exercises
You don’t need a lot of room or expensive equipment to challenge your muscles while you stave off depression. Exercises that rely on your body weight for resistance will get the job done. Moves like squats, lunges, push-ups and dips work muscle groups such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, chest, shoulders and upper back. Try combining all these in a heart-pumping circuit of 10 reps each, and add repetitions as you get stronger.
3. Outdoor Activities
If you’re fortunate enough to have a yard, consider taking your workouts outside. Exposure to the sun’s rays can help boost your serotonin levels and cause your body to produce more vitamin D. You could also find a hobby that keeps you active while you’re soaking up the sunshine, like gardening or birdwatching.
4. Commercial Break Cardio
Next time you’re watching your favorite TV show, instead of mindlessly spending the commercial break scrolling through your phone, try fitting in a mini workout instead. Challenge yourself to do squat jumps, lateral skates, tuck jumps, scissor lunges and other plyometric exercises until the show comes back on. Do this every time you watch TV, and you’ll see your cardio capacity skyrocket.
Take Better Care of Yourself
Ready to reclaim your mental health? Start building a workout program slowly, with a goal of exercising 20 to 30 minutes a day, three times a week. Keep a journal of your workouts and how you feel before and after each activity. Remember, nobody is expecting you to run a marathon or become an Olympic-caliber weightlifter overnight – especially if you’ve been living a mostly sedentary lifestyle. All you’re looking to do, at least initially, is to get your blood pumping with exercises you enjoy.
Be patient and stick with it. Consistency is crucial if you’re trying to establish a habit. As your fitness level improves, you’ll find your workouts become easier to do, and you can look for more challenging exercises. And, if you’re struggling with depression symptoms and feel like exercise isn’t doing enough to help, please reach out to your doctor or therapist. You don’t have to struggle alone.
At Spearhead Lodge, we provide the highest possible standards of care for young adult men who need to recover from substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders. To discover the difference, call us today.