‘Exercise is the most potent and underutilised antidepressant, and it’s free….’
Someone I follow on Instagram posted this caption this morning and it really struck a chord with me as it is something I passionately believe in – exercise is the best form of medicine, the best stress reliever, the best mood lifter. I just wish more people realised it, or thought about it in that way.
I’m not saying you have to go all out and do a 10 km run every time you feel low, but even just jumping around for 10 minutes or dancing to some music can really make a difference. It gets the endorphins going and makes you feel a whole lot better.
I went for a run this morning, and I felt so much happier and ready for the day not only afterwards, but whilst I was out. It did help that it was a beautiful autumnal morning and I was running in the woods and along the canal (and stopped to capture some moments – see pic), but the mere feeling of being out and pushing my body a bit just made me feel happy. I get this burst of happiness inside when I am outdoors, and I can see the beauty of the world. I know I will feel like this when I am out, which makes it easier to talk myself into getting out! I was able to think things through that were bothering me and realise how insignificant they were (I had a moment yesterday when I stressed about something really silly), and I was able to make plans.
Taking the time out for yourself is so important, but we all tend to neglect ourselves over others or tasks when the going gets tough, or find an excuse not to go out for that walk/run/gym class. I’ve seen so many people suffer from stress or just let daily life get on top of them, and in doing so they’ve forgotten to look out for number 1 – themselves. A trip to the doctor in extreme cases can result in antidepressants being prescribed, and whilst I know these are necessary in certain cases, I wish people would try and incorporate more exercise into their lives first. This is especially true for those who suffer from long term depressive episodes, and I have seen friends reap the benefit of exercise in these situations. Don’t let excuses get in the way either – find someone to sit with the kids for 20 minutes, or take them with you; tag team with your other half so you can both get out; or just put it in your diary as a proper activity so you stick to it.
I love the feeling of being outdoors and feeling good about myself and am on a mission to help others see how just a little bit of exercise can help them!
Go on, give it a go, it might even make you happy 🙂