"Faith, you worked on the floor as a nurse for over 10 years and did your Masters in Nursing with an emphasis in Complementary/Alternative Medicine. How important do you think exercise is for not only physical but also mental and emotional health?"
"I think we all can agree that exercise has tremendous health benefits. Exercise helps prevent and improve chronic health diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis. As little as 30 minutes of exercise 3-4 times a week can prevent you from living with a chronic health problem! Exercise helps maintain a healthy weight. Studies show that remaining physically fit decreases the risk of premature death! Clearly, exercise is good for our bodies.
- Anxiety: Several studies show that exercise can reduce anxiety. The best results are seen after several weeks of aerobic activity.
- Depression: Exercise prevents depression and reduces depression in those who suffer from it. Again, the best results are seen after several weeks of consistent exercise. In addition, vigorous exercise appears to be more effective than less vigorous exercise. Perhaps the most interesting finding is that the degree of benefit from exercise is similar to that of medication, but without the side effects!!
- Stress Management: Those who exercise regularly are not only able to respond to stress better but also have a more positive self-esteem. Additionally they have an overall more positive mood and outlook on life.
- Overall well-being: Those who exercise regularly have increased energy levels, report more restful sleep, and report improved sex lives.
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Long, B.C., & van Stavel, R. (1995). Effects of exercise training on anxiety: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 7, 167–189.
Martinsen, E.W. (1987). The role of aerobic exercise in the treatment of depression. Stress Medicine, 3, 93–100. Martinsen, E.W. (1990). Benefits of exercise for the treatment of depression. Stress Medicine, 9, 380–389. Martinsen, E.W. (1993). Therapeutic implications of exercise for clinically anxious and depressed patients.
Martinsen, E.W. (1994). Physical activity and depression: Clinical experience. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 377, 23–27.
McDonald, D.G., & Hodgdon, J.A. (1991). The psychological effects of aerobic fitness training: Research and theory. New York: Springer-Verlag.
Regier, D.A., Boyd, J.H., Burke, J.D., Rae, D.S., Myers, J.K., Kramer, M., Robins, L.N., George, L.K., Karno, M., & Locke, B.Z. (1988). One-month prevalence of mental disorders in the United States. Archives of General Psychiatry, 45, 977–986.