When you’re suffering from the blues, it can be difficult to build up the motivation to face your workout. After all, it can be difficult to build up the motivation to face most things, let alone something challenging and that requires physical effort. That said, when you’re feeling down, it’s even more important to be active than it is when you’re already in a great mood.
It is at exactly those times when finding the motivation to exercise can make the biggest difference for you. At the same time that exercise helps in the prevention and improvement of a range of physical health problems, research has shown that it can also be exceptionally helpful with depression and anxiety.
The following are five reasons being physically active is important when you’re feeling down, and why you should resist the urge to skip your workouts on those days:
1) Exercise promotes endorphin release – Endorphins are a natural chemical produced in your brain that act in a way that is not unlike cannabis. They boost your sense of wellbeing. So when you’re down in the dumps, exercising can help you to come back up again.
2) It gives you a mental break – When you’re focusing on what your body is doing and on doing an activity properly, you’re providing yourself with a helpful break from your stresses, worries and negative thoughts. This break can be very refreshing and can help you to break a cycle of depressed or anxious feelings.
3) It helps to increase your confidence – As you regularly set and meet goals or achieve challenges – even pint-sized ones – you can give your self-confidence a helpful shot in the arm. Moreover, when you become more fit, you can start to feel better about the way you look, helping your confidence even more.
4) It helps to encourage you to interact with others – When you leave your home to exercise, you open yourself up to the chance to meet others and socialize with them. Social interaction is wonderful for the mood and as a way to prevent symptoms of depression. The exchange of a “good morning” or even just a smile to others as you pass them on a walk, or a nod of acknowledgement to other people at the gym can give you a healthy mood boost.
5) It promotes healthy coping – By taking action to do something that will affect you in a positive way, you can improve your ability to cope with depression or anxiety symptoms. So when you’re feeling blue, the same rule applies. Taking matters into your own hands to do something healthy and that promotes overall wellness will make you feel better than if you try to escape your feelings through alcohol or brooding.