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Workouts Can Lighten Heavy Hearts


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#1 Lindsay

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 11:03 PM

Workouts Can Lighten Heavy Hearts
Exercise may equal medication in easing depression, experts say.

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By E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The millions of Americans stricken each year by debilitating depression may want to consider running away from their problem -- or walking, swimming or dancing it away.

"What the studies are showing is that exercise, at least when performed in a group setting, seems to be at least as effective as standard antidepressant medications in reducing symptoms in patients with major depression," said researcher James Blumenthal, a professor of medical psychology at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

According to Blumenthal, other studies are beginning to suggest that solitary exercise, such as workouts at the gym or a daily jog, can be just as effective as group activities in beating the blues, and that "duration of exercise didn't seem to matter -- what seemed to matter most was whether people were exercising or not."

Blumenthal was lead author on a much-publicized study released five years ago that found that just 10 months of regular, moderate exercise outperformed a leading antidepressant (Zoloft) in easing symptoms in young adults diagnosed with moderate to severe depression.

And another study released earlier this year, by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, found that 30-minute aerobic workouts done three to five times a week cut depressive symptoms by 50 percent in young adults.

Theories abound as to how revving up the body helps uncloud the mind.

Robert E. Thayer is a professor of psychology at California State University, Long Beach, and the author of Calm Energy: How People Regulate Mood with Food and Exercise. He said that while workouts probably affect key brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, physical activity may also trigger positive changes in other areas, too.

"Depression is a condition characterized by low energy and moderate tension, something I call 'tense tiredness,'" he said. But exercise has a clear "mood effect" that seems to ease that anxious but lethargic state, he said.

According to Thayer, moderate exercise -- a brisk 10-minute walk, for example -- results in a boosting of energy, although it may not be quite enough to relieve stress.

"More intense exercise -- the amount you'd engage in with a 45-minute aerobic workout -- does give a primary mood effect of reducing tension. It might also leave you with a little less energy because you'd be tired, of course," he said. "However, there's also some indication from the research that there's a 'rebound' effect an hour or so later, in terms of [increased] energy."

Blumenthal pointed to the more lasting psychological boost regular workouts can bring. "People who exercise might also have better self-esteem; it may help them feel better about themselves, having that great sense of accomplishment," he said.

Still, the experts acknowledged that truly depressed individuals often find it tough to jump into an exercise routine.

"Why do people not do the thing that's perhaps the most important thing for them to do?" said Thayer. "It's because a drop in energy is such a central component of depression -- you just don't have the energy to do the exercise."

He said the key to breaking that cycle is to start small.

"Thinking about going to the gym and doing all the stuff that's involved with that can be overwhelming for a depressed person," Thayer pointed out. "But if you think 'Hey, maybe I'll just walk down the street 30 yards or so, at a leisurely pace,' that's a start. And it turns out that your body becomes activated then -- you have more of an incentive to walk farther, to do more."

Loved ones can play a key role, too, urging a depressed friend or family member to join in with them as they work out. "Social support, peer pressure, family support -- all of that can be helpful, certainly in getting people to maintain exercise," Blumenthal said.

No one is saying that exercise is always a substitute for drug therapy, especially for the severely depressed. "But we also know that these drugs aren't effective for everyone -- about a third of people aren't going to get better with medication," Blumenthal said.

For those patients, exercise may prove a viable, worry-free alternative -- with one great fringe benefit.

"In addition to its mental health benefits, there are some clear cardiovascular benefits to exercise which we don't see with antidepressant drugs, of course," Blumenthal noted. So, he said, what keeps the mind fit strengthens the body, too. "You're ******* two birds with one stone."

More information

For more on recognizing and beating depression, head to the National Institute of Mental Health :
SOURCE: (www.nimh.nih.gov ).

Be Well....

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#2 PapaQ

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 05:15 AM

He said the key to breaking that cycle is to start small.

Thanks for the post Lindsay. I started walking a number of years ago and then worked up slowly to running short distances.

Loved ones can play a key role, too, urging a depressed friend or family member to join in with them as they work out. "Social support, peer pressure, family support -- all of that can be helpful, certainly in getting people to maintain exercise," Blumenthal said.

Through the encrouagement and help of a friend, I started to run even longer distances. Some say that LSD is great for depression-- also known as LONG, SLOW, DISTANCE. :hearts:

I try to get out at lunch each day while at work and run 3-4 miles. I'm fortunate to have a shower there and the ability to do this. I find though that an incredible amount of inertia seems to creep in if I miss one or two days of running. That's why I do my best to keep to a routine as much as possible.

#3 Hope4life

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 08:09 PM

Hi lindsay,
Thanks for the article, It was inspiring, and since I was feeling anxious, I went for a brisk 10-15 min walk,
and I feel a little better. The only thing is when I start walking I just want to keep walking..........

Daryl

#4 sober4life

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 01:35 AM

I used to exercise like 4 or 5 hours a day when I was younger and I loved it. Now though everytime I do it it makes me mad and it makes me more depressed because I feel like I never do enough exercising.

#5 Ekavlije

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 07:53 PM

[quote name='PapaQ' post='79667' date='Nov 27 2005, 11:15 AM'][quote] I find though that an incredible amount of inertia seems to creep in if I miss one or two days of running. That's why I do my best to keep to a routine as much as possible.[/quote]

After the first few discussions with my psychologist, he told me i was a very loving person who needed to find a vent for my emotions. I joined a gym to burn off some extra steam. I try to go every 2nd day for a 1hr session.

However, whenever i pick up an injury/fall off the wagon and get blitzed and subsequently miss some workouts, i get really down. Several times this has led to me missing more workouts and getting even more down. Snowball effect. It takes a lot of effort to stand back up.

Its worrying that i've tied myself into something that is a guaranteed instant trigger if the routine is disturbed. I dont take any meds, but i seem hooked on the endorphins and dopamine from exercise.

Whatever keeps you sane, right? :hearts:
Posted Image Care, mad to see a man sae happy, E'en drown'd himsel amang the nappy. - Robert Burns
Peace, good Mercutio, peace! Thou talkst of nothing! - Shakespeare

#6 libra

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 02:31 PM

I love to work out. My body doesn't know that yet though! When I do it, especially when I keep to a program or routine, I get an incredible feeling of power and strength (not like I'm going to take on the world or anything! haha). But MOTIVATION is where I need a kick in the ***! It's so hard for me to do things when I can't see the big picture or what the grand scheme or outcome will be other than momentary euphoria.
How do you get past it? Are there books on discipline? I doubt I'd read them anyway cause um, that might require discipline!

#7 KeepingAwake

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 02:35 PM

I love to work out. My body doesn't know that yet though! When I do it, especially when I keep to a program or routine, I get an incredible feeling of power and strength (not like I'm going to take on the world or anything! haha). But MOTIVATION is where I need a kick in the ***! It's so hard for me to do things when I can't see the big picture or what the grand scheme or outcome will be other than momentary euphoria.
How do you get past it? Are there books on discipline? I doubt I'd read them anyway cause um, that might require discipline!


libra,

Setting goals really helps. What are you trying to achieve? Do you want to be able to lift a certain amount of weight? Run a certain distance? Complete a race?

Can you come up with a goal?

KA
Beliefs Aren't Etched in Stone... Unless Your Brain is Made of Rock

#8 libra

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 02:58 PM

Hi KA,
Yes I have found in the past that I do better if I have a goal to strive for. I trained for a 10k once and would like to be able to run that distance again. And to know what to do to maintain that level of fitness once I reach it.
That's a start... I have a book on the same 12 week training program and I have started myself a blog to record my progress instead of keeping a paper journal - in hopes to combine my affection for running with my addiction to the computer into one do-able activity. LOL. So far the blog has been abbreviated by a week long camping trip and by my penchant for talking about nothing. Going to run today, and blog it again, so that at least I am running when doing nothing else.

#9 KeepingAwake

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 03:15 PM

I find that having a goal race really helps me too libra. I'm kicking around the idea of a half marathon in Dec or Jan to help me stay on track. ;)

A lot of cities do their Race For The Cure in October. Might be a good one to shoot for!! Very moving if you've never done one.

KA
Beliefs Aren't Etched in Stone... Unless Your Brain is Made of Rock

#10 libra

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 03:22 PM

See, that would be cool.. once I work up to the 10 k and maintain that level, moving on to half mar's and more would be awesome. I've always admired people that have the discipline and stamina to do that. I think it's in me, I just have to find it. For this moment, I'm just sitting in my workout gear eating a big bowl of fruit salad. I'm totally going to the gym after this!!!

But on the note of running for a cure, I have thought about doing that as a family member was recently diagnosed with MS. Interesting that you say it is 'moving'. No pun intended I'm sure. God, my jokes are irresponsibly placed. *sigh*

Edited by libra, 15 August 2006 - 03:25 PM.


#11 KeepingAwake

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 03:38 PM

If you can run a 10K, you can do a half!! Honest!

I went right from the 5 K to the half (with more running to train). I've done 3 halfs now.

I tend to pick 'destination' races for half marathons and travel their with friends and meet other people I know there from online running clubs.

Hope that you can find a race that gets you pumped up!!

KA
Beliefs Aren't Etched in Stone... Unless Your Brain is Made of Rock

#12 libra

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 04:35 PM

Cool, thanks for the tips KA!

Your enthusiasm is inspiring. :) Have an awesome day.

#13 allflowerz

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 05:14 PM

exercise helped me a lot to clear my head--that's usually what I recommend to people

#14 Ocracoker16

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 08:30 PM

I really love to exercise. I try to go to the gym four or five times a week. I usually lift weights first. I enjoy using free weights, machines, and exercises using my body weight as resistance. Then I usually do a cardiovascular workout. I am not much of a runner so I use a few different ellipticals throughout the week. I am trying this month to incorporate more rowing and stairstepping. I am hoping to one day become a personal trainer. It would be great to work with clients with different mental health issues. I want to help others find joy in exercise, because it has been such a crucial part of my treatment plan and recovery.

Katie :hearts:
Katie

#15 jabberjaws

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 04:25 PM

I used to enjoy walking 3 miles per day or 12 miles on a stationary Bike when the weather was bad. Then I was admitted into the hospital for ECT treatments. Now I don't go for walks anymore...A social thing, I don't like talking or meeting up with people. So I started riding the bike. However I'm not as committed as I once was. I cut down on distance and worked my way back to 12 miles per ride. I just can't get myself to do it on a regular basis anymore. I lost 60 pounds doing this and eating right, Which my eating habits are not as good as they once were. How can I get back into the routine without being tired or depressed while I do the workout. I'd hate to gain the weight back again. Any ideas?

#16 violetspike

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 10:21 PM

Exercise always does wonders for me. When I run I can even feel on top of the world and it clears my head. Buuuut, I have trouble with getting out there when I need it most, you know? I even belong to a gym. Used to go three times a week. Haven't gone in months. Am not planning to. I'd rather work out in my hideout called my basement now. Even then, I havn't done much. I'm glad my job is a huge workout.
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#17 Belle29

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 08:24 AM

Exercise always does wonders for me.


That is so true for me! Even if I don't manage to get much else accomplished (which is becoming pretty regular nowadays!) I try to exercise, does wonders for my energy levels and seems to decrease my irritability and aggravation.

#18 starlight.rini

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 04:59 PM

Thanks for the info.
THe problem with me is that I get really bored when I run (I get bored with almost everything 5-10 minutes into it) so I can rarely exercise for a long time.

#19 mosaic

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 10:53 PM

I dont really exercise as such, because I get quite bored.

But I know what helps at times is chucking a good dance CD or turning the radio on and just dancing, it gets my heart pumping.

Not in the mood for it not, got no energy but it does work.

Mosaic :hearts:


#20 Forum Admin

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Posted 30 December 2006 - 08:30 PM

Depressed? Take a Hike

23 January 2006--AUSTIN, Texas (AP)óJust 30 minutes of brisk walking can immediately boost the mood of depressed patients, giving them the same quick pick-me-up they may be seeking from cigarettes, caffeine or binge eating, a small study found.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that people suffering from depression who walked on a treadmill for 30 minutes reported feeling more vigorous and had a greater sense of psychological well-being for up to an hour after completing the workout.

Those patients and another group that sat quietly for 30 minutes both reported reductions in negative feelings such as tension, depression, anger and fatigue.

But only the group that exercised said they felt good after the session, according to the study, published in the December issue of the journal, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

Lead researcher John Bartholomew said the study reinforces past research that has found consistent exercise, along with medication and counseling, can help people overcome depression.

However, Bartholomew's is among the first to show that exercise can have a positive effect right away.

"It's not something you have to do for 10 weeks and it's not something you have to do at a high intensity,'' said Bartholomew, an associate professor of kinesiology and health education. "You should derive a benefit very early on in the process, and hopefully that is the kind of thing that will motivate them to continue to engage in the behavior.''

The study, funded by Future Search Trials, an Austin medical research company, involved 40 people between the ages of 18 and 55. All were recently diagnosed with major depressive disorder, were not taking antidepressants and did not regularly exercise.

Twenty patients were assigned to exercise for 30 minutes, while the others sat quietly for the same amount of time. They were surveyed five minutes before the session and five, 30 and 60 minutes afterward.

The positive mood effects from walking were sizable, lifting their feelings of vigor to near-normal levels, the study said. But the results were short-lived, returning to pre-exercise levels within an hour.

While the study shows depressed people who self-medicate with cigarettes, caffeine or food binges could get similar positive feelings from exercising, experts said it won't be easy to persuade them to replace bad habits with walking or shooting hoops. It's hard enough to get healthy adults to exercise.

"For people who are severely depressed, that may not be something I'm really going to hang my hat on,'' said Dr. Erik Nelson, an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

But for mildly to moderately depressed patients, exercise may lessen feelings of helplessness and isolation, he said.

"People shouldn't feel like the only thing they can do is take their medicine and wait till they feel better,'' Nelson said. "This kind of shows there are things you can do to help yourself in the short term.''


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#21 Starberry

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 04:10 PM

I'm just starting to get into trying to walk every day. I haven't felt an improvement yet ... but I just started a few weeks ago.
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#22 Goldstar

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 12:51 PM

Going to the gym really helps me coz you just get this boost of energy and it lifts you up. Even throughout the day after I've been to the gym I get sudden little rushes to the head from going to the gym. Cycling also helps too. Anything energetic I think.
'There is no substitute for inner peace and happiness'

#23 milkman4eva

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 10:22 AM

Funny how this article was recently published because a lot of the people I know from the gym have exhibited tendencies of depression. Especially the more dedicated one. Now my question to anyone who may have any knowledge on the subject is if exercise would eliminate the need to see a therapist and get on meds? Or, if one is better of seeking therapy and getting exercise?

#24 Pandoren

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 08:57 AM

It doesn't work for me.

#25 Goldstar

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 07:27 AM

Funny how this article was recently published because a lot of the people I know from the gym have exhibited tendencies of depression. Especially the more dedicated one. Now my question to anyone who may have any knowledge on the subject is if exercise would eliminate the need to see a therapist and get on meds? Or, if one is better of seeking therapy and getting exercise?


Yeah I hear alot of celebrities who suffer from depression go to the gym. Eg- Trisha, Amy Winehouse etc.
In my experience, I find that excercise is great as a self help tool in preventing depression (you have to keep excercising throughout your life), and in trying to get better from depression. However, I think that you'd still need to take medication and get therapy because these are the things that really help you to get better. However if I didn't do any excercise (even if i was on meds) I don't think I would ever get better.

I think perhapps excercise could be used just on it's own for treatment of very mild depression though. Not quite sure though lol.

Goldstar xx

Edited by Goldstar, 17 June 2007 - 07:30 AM.

'There is no substitute for inner peace and happiness'

#26 crystalpheonix

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 09:16 AM

i totally agree with this topic beacsue i'm usually an exercise freak :hearts:


but i generally believe that keeping your physical body healthy (not talking abt looks here) only boosts medicational help. It makes your body stronger. We already have to damage your bodies by taking p-meds.
Yay! i'm a junior member! look at my spanking new avatar!!


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#27 RunningWI

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 06:28 PM

I have been running for the last 18 months and have found it very helpful. Some days it just gives me something to feel good about. I continue with meds and therapy for depression, but my runs definately continue to play a role in my recovery. For me exercise keeps the bad days away. It has also helped to break out of my morning funk from ADs. I really look forward to it. I stay free of boredom with my ipod.

If anyone is interested in getting started with running, check out jeffgalloway.com. I believe almost anyone can get started with a run/walk program. When I started I couldn't run a quarter mile. This spring I finished a half marathon. This program has kept me injury free. No affliation, just found him on the web one day.

#28 QNA

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 01:17 PM

I've found that not only does it work for me, but excercising works wonders. I may be starting off badly when I start, or before I start, but by the end of whatever I'm doing, I feel much better, and much more able to cope...no, more than that: I feel as though I can take on the world. It shakes me (eventually) out of self-pity and pushes me to fight.
'Love is a strange emotion. When one thinks of it, a conflicting multitude of thoughts arise. Love is pitiful and marvelous, empowering and parasitic. It is hideous; it is beautiful. It is weak and strong at the same time. Love has started wars, ended wars, caused the depression and death of millions, as well as caused uncountable others to be thrown to the heights of ecstasy. So is love truly such a pure, lovely thing? I think it is a mixture of both. Just as nothing is purely good or evil, so is love.'

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#29 mssjanine

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 04:31 PM

When I exercise, I know I feel better, and I feel like I can handle wat comes my way in life better. I haven't been exercising much lately, and I think I better get back on it.

#30 christalonely

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 06:11 PM

I find exercise does help me but it doesn't work wonders...more like take the edge off my depression and anxiety.

- Christa Lynn





If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you always gotten.


#31 fed_up

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 05:03 PM

I've found that not only does it work for me, but excercising works wonders. I may be starting off badly when I start, or before I start, but by the end of whatever I'm doing, I feel much better, and much more able to cope...no, more than that: I feel as though I can take on the world. It shakes me (eventually) out of self-pity and pushes me to fight.


I feel exactly the same. I've been jogging for about 40 mins average most nights, and it really does make me feel more positive about my problems. It makes me feel stronger.

#32 djaef

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Posted 12 December 2007 - 07:20 AM

I haven't noticed exercise lifting my mood that much (maybe a little), but I sure have noticed the positive effect it has on my self esteem. It is addictive, good for you, positive, proactive, and it has the fortunate side effects of giving you a good body. Try it, you will like it.
'I drank what?'- Socrates

#33 immiscibility

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 08:49 AM

I can understand this - I spent years not exercising becuase i'm quite overweight and thought everyone would laugh and point at me in gyms, etc. Then I started horse riding again in 2006, and took on a share in a horse early 2007. From that, i discovered my love of outdoors again, and since then i have been walking everyday, and last month joined my local leaisure centre and have now been to the gym three times since the beginning of the year :D I feel confident in myself, and i'm doing it for ME and i'm also in the middle of coming off my meds (after being on them for five years)

It's hard - but the more you do it, the easier it is, and the easier it is to increase frequency/intensity of exercise workouts :)
I'd rather regret the things I've done, than the things I haven't

#34 Trace

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 04:46 AM

I can understand this - I spent years not exercising becuase i'm quite overweight and thought everyone would laugh and point at me in gyms, etc. Then I started horse riding again in 2006, and took on a share in a horse early 2007. From that, i discovered my love of outdoors again, and since then i have been walking everyday, and last month joined my local leaisure centre and have now been to the gym three times since the beginning of the year :D I feel confident in myself, and i'm doing it for ME and i'm also in the middle of coming off my meds (after being on them for five years)

It's hard - but the more you do it, the easier it is, and the easier it is to increase frequency/intensity of exercise workouts :)



Thats wonderful immiscibility.
Horses seem to have a theraputic effect on many people. Infact we have riding for the disabled here in my country everywhere and it is helped countless people feel better and have some positivity in their lives.

Trace
Listen in deep silence. Be very still and open your mind.... Sink deep into the peace that waits for you beyond the frantic, riotous thoughts and sights and sounds of this insane world. - A course of miracles.

True beauty must come, must be grown, from within.... - Ralph W Trine.



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#35 Mimen

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 08:30 AM

I'm just starting to get into trying to walk every day. I haven't felt an improvement yet ... but I just started a few weeks ago.


I hate any form of exercise! I however joined a walking group and started slow walks measuring distance and heart rate. 2 or so weeks of persisting with this I noticed an "elevated" mood after walking. Another week or so and I realised I was sleeping without waking up.

I am up to 1 .5 km brisk walk in about 15 minutes and the effect of it is now very pronounced. It really makes me feel good as I can see my heart rate decreasing and the distance increasing as well as the "feeling good" period is now lasting 2 or 3 days!

I now walk 3 times a week, keep it up it works. You don't have to walk yourself to death, just walk how fast and how far you feel OK with. It works!!

#36 fuzz963

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 02:07 AM

I was in the military, so exercise was a large part of my life. However, I've been out for four years now. I can barely make myself get off the couch these days.

My doctor did tell me that sunshine and exercise would help, so I went out and bought a treadmill. I figured, I know how I am. I hate going outside. There are people out there, and I'd rather them not see me. I don't use the treadmill though. I tried for a few months, but even though it made me feel better immediately following the exercise, I found that I'd hate myself for skipping a day.
Man is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness from which he emerges and the infinity in which he is engulfed. ~Blaise Pascal

#37 potatosalad

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 04:30 PM

I've been reading that hard aerobic exercise is actually more effective than medication. :shocked:

#38 DarkRain

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 08:44 PM

Not to discourage anyone from working out. But I had weight training in high school and it just made me so much worse.
I was that much tireder after class, I felt ugly and weak compared to the other guys (and girls!) It left me drained, we ran on Wednesdays all period and we ran before we lifted everyday. We always had a good routine and schedule. Did nothing for me. I actually paid more attention to my body because of it which wasn't a good thing. A couple of times I tired to lift too much and when someone pointed that out I felt like an *****. But I'm not sure why it did this to me. Guess I'm special. :wwww:
I have trouble sometimes just walking, because then I realise I'm thirsty and I don't have a water bottle. I guess make sure you have plenty of water. :sneaky2:

Exercise is supposed to raise your endorphine level but think I'll just stick to chocolate. :shocked:
"There is some good in this world Mr. Frodo and it's worth fighting for."

"I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil."

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#39 maroonsunflower

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 06:48 PM

I completely agree with this article. Exercise is a great way to lessen anxiety, lift ones mood, and create a general sense of well being. I recently started to go for long walks, and I'm starting to fit in time at the gym to do some aerobic exercising. It was hard at first to get going, but I know that in times of anxiety-which has been quite often lately, and feeling extremely low, it really helps to just get moving :).

#40 lindahurt

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 08:41 PM

I've always known exercise's impact on my thoughts and mood which is why I try to exercise on a regular basis. I always appreciate going to the gym or going on a long walk because when done, I feel so much lighter, healther and a little destress.

Edited by lindahurt, 21 November 2010 - 08:42 PM.

Even in the most horrific of situations, one's attitude has an enormous role in shaping what happens ~ Viktor Frankl
In you lies the power to choose, to commit - Stephen Convey

 
The kind of person you want to become is greatly influence by your inner decisions, and not from outside influence alone. We can even under adverse circumstances, decide what shall become of us ~ Brian C. Stiller



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