Now that you know about the alleviating effects that exercise has on depression, here are some factors to consider before your next workout.
- Choose the kind of activities you like to do.
There are so many ways to break a sweat! Making your exercise enjoyable is key to forming a healthy habit and sticking to it. Running, hiking, biking, weightlifting, dancing, taking fitness classes, rowing, even walking with a friend—these are all equally beneficial for your mental health and well-being.
- Schedule your workouts in advance.
Especially when dealing with depression, if you wait until you get the urge to exercise, it is unlikely to happen. Add your workout plans to your calendar ahead of time, rather than waiting until you feel like it. Just the simple act of recording it on your calendar will help motivate you when the time comes. Another great way to encourage yourself to honor your commitment is working out with others, such as in an exercise class or with a friend or two.
- Meet yourself where you’re at.
Yes, extreme physical exertion is great for you. But if it’s too intense to be enjoyable, you are less likely to be committed long-term. Find the balance of challenging and enjoyable that is right for you. You do you!
Set achievable goals. Do your best not to compare yourself to others. It’s hard to resist sneaking peeks at the people on the treadmill next to you—we’ve all been there. But often this leads to feeling inadequate. Don’t be hard on yourself and turn exercise into an opportunity for negative self-talk. Nothing anyone else does can take away from the good choices you are making for yourself.
Remember, just ten to fifteen minutes of physical activity is beneficial to your well-being. If you are just getting back into exercising or having a tough day, listen to your body to figure out what is best.
- Nourish your body.
We often forget how connected our mind and body are. Giving your body a tough workout is amazing for your health, but you also need to give it the fuel it needs to perform and recover. Nourishing your body is essential for your mental well-being, too. There is a lot of truth in the saying “A healthy mind in a healthy body.”
- Hydrate, Feel Great!
Be sure to hydrate properly. If you are exercising, you need even more water than normal. Everyone requires a different amount of water for their body to be properly hydrated. Check out a water calculator to find the amount right for you.
Food is energy, so make sure to have protein after your workout. It will give your muscles the nutrients needed for recovery. Another essential building block for recovery is magnesium. Magnesium is needed for hundreds of chemical processes in your body—most importantly, energy production and muscular health and recovery. Don’t skip the magnesium—it is also proven to help with depression (1)!
Magnesium helps regulate stress levels and prevent stress hormones from entering the brain (2). It also plays a role in many of the pathways, hormones, and neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation. Moreover, magnesium can increase the positive effects of antidepressants (3). Just be sure to check with your doctor before taking magnesium supplements, to confirm that it does not interact with your current medications. Our magnesium supplement, designed by a neuroscientist, has the optimum proportions of four elemental magnesium types. It is vegan, American-made, and produced in an FDA-approved facility. Our magnesium supplement has no additives or fillers.
1. Barragán-Rodríguez, L., et al., Efficacy and safety of oral magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression in the elderly with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, equivalent trial, 2008. John Libbey Eurotext, 21(4): p. 218-23.
2. Deans, Emily, Magnesium and the Brain: The Original Chill Pill. June 12, 2011.
3. Deans, Emily, Magnesium for Depression: A controlled study of magnesium shows clinically significant improvement. January 28, 2018.
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