Tips to Stay Active and in Good Spirits

While we may intuitively know that a good walk can help clear heads and calm minds, multiple studies outlined in “A Review of Literature: The Mental Health Benefits of Walking and Bicycling” published by Portland State University found a positive association between exercise and the alleviation of symptoms of depression and anxiety. One study indicated that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication. And while it is not exactly clear why exercise boosts our mood, Mental Health America suggests exercise relieves pent-up muscle tension, stimulates feel-good hormones, burns off stress hormones and increases blood flow to the brain.

This summer, try these “daily doubles” to break up your exercise into manageable increments:

  • Use 10 minutes of your lunch break to briskly walk around the block and get your daily dose of sunshine and vitamin D. Skip the elevator!
  • Make it a routine to spend 20 minutes before or after dinner as a family. Take a walk or bike ride, play catch, shoot hoops, get out the Wii or turn on music and dance. Take turns deciding what to do!
  • Dedicate one daily sitcom to stretching, sit-ups and weight lifting (even 2 pound or 3 pound weights that can be bought at almost any sports store will do the trick). During commercials try walking in place, doing leg lifts or punching the air.

Courtesy of Mental Heath America and www.helpguide.org