05 Nov More on exercise and happiness
Give your brain a good workout
By MARK ANSHEL
Can exercise make you smarter? Can it slow down the process of mental aging, such as forgetfulness, speed of processing information? The answer to both questions is a “no brainer” (excuse the pun). Yes, it can.
We all know that a chronic, long-term commitment to regular exercise improves our physical health, but what is less well known is that exercise also improves mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, negative thinking, negative mood and chronic anger. In addition, aerobic exercise reduces the use of addictive substances and improves positive mood such as elation, enthusiasm, and happiness.
One of the most common forms of mental illness in Tennessee, as well as around the country, is clinical depression – experienced by about 20 percent of Americans sometime in their life. Only 27 percent of cases, however, receive adequate care. Typically, drug therapy is used to improve depression and to control other forms of mental illness. This is especially important to Tennessee residents because our state ranks among the top three in the United States for the number of prescription drugs we ingest daily.
Exercise has been found to be a highly effective form of therapy for improving mental health and quality of life, according to numerous studies. Our health and quality of life would be much better if we replaced most of our prescribed medications with daily prescribed exercise (with the approval of your physician or mental health professional, of course). Medication for depression has a number of unpleasant side effects. These include, according to the American Psychiatric Association, dizziness, sedation, weight changes, neurological side effects, insomnia and anxiety, among others.
Let’s have a closer look at the benefits of exercise therapy on mental health, mood and personality.
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