Medical Blog

Lifestyle Intervention for Mental Health- Exercise

Exercise can assist us in having improved mental health. Even light exercise, such as a 30 minute slow walk on a consistent basis can have positive effects on mood. Most of the evidence supports exercise improving symptoms of depression, but it could potentially have use in other conditions such as anxiety.

It can be very difficult to motivate oneself to exercise in the midst of a mood disorder. Scheduling physical activity can be viewed as a psychotherapeutic intervention called behavioral activation. The concept here is becoming more active before the mood improves, as opposed to waiting for the mood to improve and have activity increase subsequently.

Exercise can improve Energy levels, and improve the depth of sleep at night. Avoid evening workouts if you have problems sleeping as this can cause insomnia.
Exercise is a form of preventative medicine, and in healthy individuals it can prevent the development of mood disorders and dementia.

Physical activity can have adverse effects in some cases, especially when appropriate supervision and planning are not utilized. Some of the risks of exercise include damage to the cardiovascular system, muscle or bone damage, electrolyte abnormalities, developing an obsession with body image or worsening of an existing eating disorder.

Before starting an exercise program consult with your physician to make sure it is safe to increase or initiate a physical activity program, particularly if you have a chronic health issue (heart disease, diabetes).

© Neevon Esmaili 2016

Neevon Esmaili, MD
Child Adolescent, & Adult Psychiatrist
Dual Board Certified

The information on this blog is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat a medical or psychiatric illness. It is for informational purposes only. Diagnosis and treatment of medical and psychiatric illness can only be done by a licensed clinical professional, and recommends consulting with a qualified healthcare provider for any questions or issues you may have. This blog cannot be used as a substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional.

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