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HEART RATE UP = ANXIETY DOWN: HOW EXERCISE CAN HELP EASE ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION



By Lisa Kretchman


Approximately 1 in 5 Americans are affected by mental health conditions every year[1].  With depression and anxiety at the top of that list, we as a nation are continuously searching for new and more effective ways to better manage these health issues.  As support tools become more accessible, a coping mechanism that can easily be overlooked is exercise.


THERE ARE MANY CLEAR HEALTH BENEFITS TO EXERCISE


It builds strength, improves cardiovascular endurance, and aids in weight loss. But, did you know it can also be an important tool in relieving stress and treating depression and anxiety? 


Studies show that exercise releases feel-good endorphins.  These chemicals in our brain act as natural painkillers and can enhance our sense of well-being and help ease our anxiety, even improve our sleep[2]. Exercise, in a way, provides us with an opportunity to redirect our focus away from negative thoughts that may cloud our minds.  Exercise also has been shown to increase energy levels and improve mood, even boost brain health[3].