May. 10.

Fighting Mental Illness with Fitness

Fighting Mental Illness with Fitness

May is Mental Health Awareness Month! If you are fighting a mental illness it is nothing to be ashamed of. After training many people over the years I have come to realize most of us fight similar mental battles and the more you can open up about it the more you can overcome.

Most of my life I battled depression/anxiety. Doctors actually told me at one point my brain simply does not produce serotonin like other brains. Serotonin is a chemical that stabilizes your mood and acts as a neurotransmitter.

What does a depressed person look like?

         That is hard to say, 1 and 5 Americas have a mental illness and 1 out of 10 are depressed! Depression is debilitating and in the United States has become the leading cause of disability from a wide age range of 15 to 44 years old.  When thinking of a depressed person you would most likely visualize a sad person who cries a lot. This is how depression FEELS! Yet on the outside depression can look successful and depression can look fit!

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I was an overweight kid, an anorexic teen and a depressed obsessed fitness competitor. On the outside I looked mentally and physically healthy but I was not. Exercise was my “out” and food was what I controlled to help live with my depression and social anxiety. Today I have given up control over food and have come to a point where exercise is not always the answer. I have accepted my mental illness and after 28 years finally learned how to take action to combat it.

Am I depressed today? No, but I could be! The way your brain produces chemicals is not your choice. It is a choice to fight though.  

Steps I take to fight depression and anxiety in a healthy way are:

1.       Using exercise in combination with mental health help. Therapy, talking with friends or a life coach in combination with exercise can dramatically help improve your chances of overcoming mental illness.

2.       Incorporating running back into my exercise plan for endorphins. With an unstable mood the endorphins have always helped bring me back to reality and help me feel accomplished.

3.       Nutrition! Eating a balanced diet will help your hormones stay in balance and give your brain and body enough fuel to properly work. Also viewing no food as “good” or “bad” will help create a positive lasting relationship with food as being fuel for the body and not something that can control your feelings.

4.       Be consistent! A study by Duke University compared the antidepressant effects of exercise on three different groups. One group received Sertraline a popular antidepressant, one group exercised and one group received a placebo. The exercise groups all exercised at different levels and frequencies. The group with the largest antidepressant effects was that of the group who consistently exercised for 3-4 days a week for 40 minutes or more.

5.       Be grateful! On repeat! Depression will tell you your life sucks or that no one cares! You have to fight it and tell yourself otherwise over and over!

6.       Set a 6 month goal to fight. It takes about a month to conquer a new habit and about 6 months for your brain to form the habit to where it will no longer be “new” to your brain.  

7.       If you are depressed and food is your drug of choice, use exercise like an anti-venom to the drug (food.) Find a routine and accountability to help you keep a healthier balance during your fight to overcome.

 

If depression and anxiety are holding you back from your full potential please contact us! We would love to hear from you and help you find an exercise routine most suitable for your specific goals!

 

It is also postpartum depression awareness month! It is very real, if you know someone that has recently had a baby please reach out to them so they know to be conscious of PPD signs and to know they are not alone!

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Mental health is JUST as important as physical health!

By Sarah | Posted in Fit Pregnancy, Nutition, Training, Weight loss | Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.



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