For this week’s Terry’s Take, I would like to discuss mental health, as this month is Mental Health Awareness Month. We have increasingly become more aware of just how important mental health is and the many different mental illnesses that can affect our population. Depression, suicide and various anxiety disorders are becoming more prevalent in today’s society than ever before, and as we face COVID-19 head on, we may see an even bigger increase due to the stresses of fear of the unknown as well as increased social isolation.
Exercise has long been proven to boost mental health. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are many ways that this happens, although it is not fully understood and there is ongoing research to help to better understand the details of how exercise affects mental health. One is that exercise causes your brain to release endorphins and other chemicals that naturally make us feel better.
Also, exercise can be a great way to cope with mental illness as it takes one’s minds off of everyday stresses. Many people that suffer with addiction issues turn to exercise as a way to deal with anxiety and the cycle of negative thoughts. Exercise also is a great way for people to connect. Prior to our current situation, exercise was a way for people to come together in group classes or running groups. However, we can now turn to online group classes and still feel connected to the instructor and other participants.
Now more than ever, we need to focus on our mental health. If you feel depressed, anxious or have any thoughts of hurting yourself, then by all means please seek help from a medical professional. Below are some resources and hotlines to call if you need help or know someone who is struggling with mental health:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA): 240-485-1001
- NAMI Help Line: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
But for all of us, incorporating exercise into our daily routines can be preventative for both mental and physical health issues. Please join us on Instagram to watch our live classes or check out our library of classes on our YouTube channel at Fondren Fitness Online. Stay safe and see you soon!