While many people know that exercise can help you lose weight and increase energy levels, most are unaware of how beneficial exercise can be for those that suffer from mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorders, addictions, grief, dementia and personality disorders. Studies show that sixty percent of American adults, and almost half of children ages 8–15, do not receive treatment for their mental illness diagnoses. Although treatment is available barriers, such as medication, therapy, side effects, and cost can often get in the way.
Researchers found that regular exercise produces a large number of new neurons in the hippocampus.The hippocampus is the region of the brain that regulates anxiety. Exercise is a powerful way to fight off feelings of stress because it immediately increases endorphins that are depleted by anxiety and other mental health conditions. Exercising on a regular basis has shown to improve mood and lower anxiety, by reducing the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol.
Self-esteem is a term to that we use to describe how we value ourselves and what we do. Low self-esteem tends to go hand in hand with many mental health conditions. Feeling hopeless, harvesting negative feelings toward yourself, and/ or feeling worthless are all serious signs one may experience if they have low self-esteem. Exercise has been shown to increase self-esteem by providing a sense of accomplishment, reducing stress, and improving your appearance and mood. It can also provide ways to increase self-confidence and social interaction through participation in a gym or group fitness classes.
People that suffer from mental health issues are also more likely to experience restless nights and sleep deprivation. Research has proven that exercise can improve sleep patterns. A study done at Northwestern University reported that physical activity can strengthen circadian rhythms, which is your sleep-wake cycle. Therefore, physical activity on a regular basis can stimulate longer periods of slow-wave sleep, which is the deepest stage of sleep.
At Lakeview Health, we use an integrative approach to our treatment which includes wellness therapy in our state-of-the-art gym lead by a professional, certified Health and Fitness staff. Tour our entire rehabilitation center to see what treatment is like at Lakeview Health.
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