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Mental Wellness Struggles? Try Exercise (Mental Wellness Month 2021)

In 2021, the world is facing a pandemic of a different kind, namely, mental illness. But did you know that physical exercise can help combat this pandemic? Let’s take a look at the facts: according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 1 out of 5 Americans experiences a form of mental illness in a given year. 1 in every 25 Americans is living with a severe mental disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.

Statistics from the CDC further show that over 50% of Americans will suffer from one mental illness at some point in their lifetime. Children are also prone to mental illnesses, with data indicating that one in every five children has experienced a serious mental illness. Some of the most common mental illnesses include stress, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and anxiety.

The Importance of Mental Wellness

Mental Wellness is a topic that we must discuss in our homes, places of work, and at all levels of government. The mental wellness of humanity is critical to the well-being of the family and society at large. Mental Wellness Month, celebrated in January, is dedicated to bringing to the forefront the latest news, statistics, policies, and best mental health practices. This special month aims to create awareness among the general population of the seriousness of the situation and encourage people to seek help early. It is also a way of fighting the stigma associated with mental disorders.

Exercise: An Important Contributor to Mental Wellness

Among the most common prescriptions provided by experts as a remedy for mental disorders and promoting mental wellness is exercise. A lot has been said and written about the benefits of exercise in the physical sphere, such as control of diabetes, lowering blood pressure, and shedding off excess weight. However, the benefits spread to the mental sphere, as well. In the paragraphs below, sample some of the reasons why exercise is so critical to mental wellness.

Fighting Depression

Depression is a common mental disorder across the world. As depression sweeps across the population, the easy escape route touted has been the use of antidepressants, making it a daily habit for most people suffering from depression. The bad news is that antidepressants only scratch the surface but do not go to the bottom of the problem. Antidepressants have been known to come with numerous unwanted side effects.

Did you know that exercises can help you fight depression with no side effects whatsoever? According to a recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health, jogging for 15 minutes a day or taking an hour-long walk reduces the risk of depression by over 25%. For people recovering from depression, regular exercise helps in preventing a recurrence of the condition. Exercise effectively fights depression by promoting significant changes in the brain, such as neural growth and less inflammation. Exercise also enhances calmness and releases energy into the body system. It is also a good distraction from everything else going on around you.

Calming Anxiety

Rocks balanced on top of eachother.

In the current environment of the 24-hours news cycle and digitally interconnected world, there are certainly lots of anxiety-inducing events. At one point in time, we all suffer from moments of anxiety due to increased stress. However, some forms of anxiety become chronic and are classified as mental disorders.

Exercise is an effective remedy against anxiety. Exercise reduces tension and stress associated with our daily way of life. Exercise also boosts our mental and physical energy, helping us face our situations with a positive mindset. Exercise combined with mindfulness, such as focused breathing movement, is highly effective in disrupting the constant flow of anxiety running through the head.

Overcoming Trauma

After a difficult period or event in our life, some after-effects linger for some time in our psyche. These after-effects are called trauma. Trauma is a form of mental illness that affects many people. If left unattended, trauma can spiral into a more debilitating mental condition.

Exercise is an effective method of coming to terms with traumatic experiences. There is a body of evidence showing that exercise helps our nervous system get out of the state of immobilization brought about by trauma. Exercises help in grounding our wandering minds and enhances attentiveness to our physical state. Important exercises in fighting trauma include running, dancing, swimming, hiking, and skiing.

Boosting Self-esteem and Confidence

Life can sometimes drag us into the most unlikely and unfriendly of places. When this happens, our sense of confidence takes a hit, and it might take a while to get back on our feet. Self-esteem is an essential factor to get through most situations.

Exercise can sometimes be challenging and difficult. By enduring the hard labor of exercise and hitting significant milestones such as losing weight, you boost your self-esteem. Irrespective of your size, age, or gender, exercise can elevate a perception of attractiveness, which is crucial for confidence.

Bringing Better Sleep

According to the American Sleep Association, over 50 million Americans are suffering from sleep disorders. Given the importance of sleep to our well-being, this is a ticking time bomb.

Exercise can help fix this problem one step at a time by increasing body temperature, resulting in a calming effect on the mind. This, in turn, leads to better sleep. Exercise also helps keep the circadian rhythm in place, allowing our bodies to sleep in the proper cycle. However, it is recommendable to avoid heavy exercise just before bedtime.

Exercise with Elevations RTC

At Elevations RTC we understand the connection between physical activity and mental wellness, particularly for struggling teenagers. Our programs are designed to get the best out of teens and help them regain their confidence. Bring your troubled teen today, and let us help them get back on their feet.