FITNESS: Exercise is the best way to beat anxiety and depression

March 2020 – a time we will never forget.

With COVID, we didn’t understand what we were dealing with. There were more questions than answers. Anxiety and stress caused by the unknown.

Research on the previous SARS (2003) and MERS (2015) crisis found that 50% of patients reported significant symptoms of depression and anxiety. Research in China during the early stages of COVID has shown considerable prevalence of anxiety and depression.

Humans are social, tribal animals. The impact of social isolation, working from home isolated from co-workers, being unable to go to the recreation center or the gym – all of these drastic changes have had a significant impact on mental health.

Exercise is non-invasive, drug-free, affordable, and even free.

Putting fitness at the top of your list of New Year’s resolutions is a wise decision physically, mentally, and emotionally.

There has never been a study on the impact of exercise and its effects on anxiety and depression that did not show positive results. Studies have also shown that lack of exercise in all age groups is correlated with a higher score for symptoms of depression – precisely the opposite effects of subjects engaged in controlled exercise programs.

About 6% of men and 13% of women suffer from anxiety.

There is no doubt that doctor prescribed medications with all the associated side effects are often beneficial and necessary. The question also needs to be asked: why aren’t the prescription pads filled with prescriptions for exercise?

When doctors write exercise as a prescription in a prescription pad, patients are more likely to follow the recommendation than verbal advice, especially if the prescription is very detailed and includes a referral to an exercise specialist. to support the patient.

A recent study asked participants to train in a gymnasium with a personal trainer for one hour, three times a week – one group at a moderate intensity level and the second group at a high intensity level. The group that pushed harder had the most significant reduction in anxiety levels. This study is so important because all of the participants suffered from chronic anxiety – a minimum of 10 years.

I have heard many people say that they exercised less and gained weight during COVID.

Why? At the height of the restrictions, there was nothing to stop walking, hiking or running.

There hasn’t been a sudden disappearance of treadmills, ellipticals, or weights to buy.

When faced with challenges, we need to find a positive response and adapt, maybe try something out of our comfort zone and explore something new. Negativity, crisis, stress, changes in our circumstances are all filtered through our perceptions and beliefs, and we can choose to view challenges as new opportunities for growth.

Ron Cain is the owner of Sooke Mobile Personal Training.

ColumnistFitnessSookeWest Shore

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