The month of May is known for Mental Health Awareness. The purpose is to raise awareness and educate others on mental health illnesses such as; depression, anxiety, bipolar, OCD, dementia, and much more. Did you know that most of these disorders can be controlled with exercise? When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. These endorphins trigger a positive feeling in your body which helps boost your mood. Regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress, decrease depression and anxiety, and boost self esteem.
As a fitness professional, I have come across many individuals who suffer from low self-esteem and confidence. Surprisingly, I can relate to that as well. Back in 2013, I was diagnosed with depression. Keep in mind that I was not into exercise at the time. I would constantly be sad, I would compare myself to others, and isolate myself from my loved ones. I was struggling to find my self worth. I started to add exercise into my routine when I noticed I needed a saving grace. I had a goal to workout three-four times a week. I reached that goal quickly and it immediately became a habit for me. I noticed after every workout I felt that “runners high.” I felt good about myself and I felt accomplished. I’m not going to say it cured everything, because it didn’t. I still see a therapist and I’m still on antidepressants, however, I have to say, exercise saved me.
To me, exercise is my therapy. It allows me to feel the “happy” endorphins that I didn’t know I had. It also allows me to work on myself and to make myself a priority. I want everyone to know that mental health is just as important as physical health. If anyone is struggling with mental health issues, know that you are not alone! I understand that when you are depressed or anxious, you won’t feel like doing anything. However, I want you to try a group exercise class, go for a run/walk outside, or lift weights at the gym. The more you move and exercise, the better! When you surround yourself with others doing the same thing, you will notice how much support you will have. This support will help increase your recovery. Who knows, you might even be an inspiration to others!
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