IN THE NEWS - How Exercise Boosts the Brain and Improves Mental Health | FitHealth Pros




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Exercise in the News: How Exercise Boosts the Brain and Improves Mental Health https://www.smithsonianmag.com/scienc... by Bob Holmes


Mental Health maladies (Depression, anxiety, etc…) can be difficult to treat. Medications- help many, can have high failure rate so testing different medications to see what can work/not work for an individual, Side effects can be extreme and/or unsafe Talk Therapy- Time consuming/Expensive Neither can prevent the onset of mental health disorders. One of most effective and inexpensive ways to help = exercise


Latest research- how does physical activity help manage these disorders Affects brain structure: especially in areas affected by depression and schizophrenia (daily walks, etc…) Very effective in battling depression.


Studies: Clearly affected mood Almost instantaneous instead of weeks to take effect like many medications, Can work hand in hand with medications and therapy and help combat some side effects like weight gain. Few negative side effects Not enough people, to very few, getting exercise prescriptions In researching 23 clinical trials, one clinical psychologist found exercise to be “clearly effective” in all in relation to helping depression. New evidence towards treating and/or avoiding anxiety disorders such as PTSD


Drawback: things that can prevent exercise (pandemic shutdowns, injuries, etc…) make people less active and can increase depression and poor mental health Goes over some ideas on how exercise enhances mental health: stokes the brain as well as the body (hippocampus, smaller in depressed patients- releases the protein BDNF), can enhance learning which affects anti-anxiety therapies, goes into specific experiments for better outcomes with schizophrenia as well Releases endocannabinoids which modify connections between brain cells; may enhance learning in depression/PTSD treatments Moderates body’s response to stress and reduces inflammation


Habit of exercise alters thought patterns, occupies attention away from malady Clear sense of progress, accomplishment; teaches short term discomfort for long term gain Additional support may be needed since low mental health can have low motivation associated Tailoring programs to individual capabilities; stop before exhaustion Can be lighter activities but intensity does affect levels of effectiveness Combats physical health issues associated with mental health disorders; obesity, heart disease, etc…


Medical disclaimer: This Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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