Depression and anxiety are both on the rise. Globally about 300 million people suffer from depression and it has been identified as the major cause of disability in the world. It can happen to anyone; it is not restricted by age, gender, education or social strata.
Today, with our erratic schedules, impossible work deadlines and peer pressure, stress and anxiety levels are at an all time high. Isn’t it strange that while modern day life is comfortable materialistically compared to our predecessors, we are more stressed than they ever were; we are constantly in a pursuit, often mindless, of an abstract goal.
We talk about the need to take care of ourselves, about mental wellness. So what is wellness? Is spending a weekend at “Ananda in the Himalayas” or some similar exotic centre enough to take care of “wellness”? Of course, the break is going to do you good but I am sure that you would agree that a couple of days are not enough to undo a whole year of damage! The best way to combat this drudgery of modern day existence is exercise.
Numerous studies have conclusively established the benefits of exercise in combating depression and anxiety. In fact, exercise has also shown to benefit as an adjuvant therapy in cases of alcoholism and substance abuse. Studies also show that strength training can have positive effects on depression, quality of sleep and self esteem.
From my personal experience I can vouch for the benefits of exercise in people suffering from depression as well as mood disorders. I have dealt with a number of clients with and all of them have shown remarkable improvements in their conditions with regular exercise. In these cases taking the first step-the decision to start an exercise program- is the hardest. Once you do that the rest will fall into place. Of course it will not be a smooth ride. Both the trainer and family and friends of the person concerned have to be alert, cooperative and supportive to the needs of the person. But once the person can stick to the plan for a certain period of time, things will fall into place. A little bit of patience and perseverance is what is required.
The best forms of exercise in these kinds of issues are the ones which facilitate neuromuscular stimulation. Workouts that trigger neural activity in all areas of the brain, thereby increasing neurogenesis and neuroplasticity, are shown to the most effective.
A word of advice-I see a lot of people sweating it out at the gym; they work really hard but unfortunately they somehow do not enjoy the process. When you work out, please don’t forget to smile! Exercise is not a punishment that you inflict on your body. It is therapy of the highest order; it is a gift that you give yourself.
Anxiety and depression are not like your regular cold and flu. A simple antipyretic won’t do. Exercise is an addition to the regular therapy provided by your counsellor or doctor. It cannot replace that, but most certainly can help in the treatment process. So, if you are feeling the blues or know someone who does, start an exercise program. It will make a change; a positive one!
(The writer Angshuman Dutta is the founder/CEO of Transformers Fitness Academy. You can follow him at Facebook on http://www.facebook.com/angshuman.fitness and on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/angshuman.fitness
To know more about Transformers Fitness Academy please visit https://www.transformersfitnessacademy.com/team