Does Exercise Help Your Mood? Your Attitude?

in Well-being

The Exercise Prescription

If you’ve been feeling out of sorts, you’re not alone. Everyone has good days and bad days, but how do you know if you’ve got a problem? Approximately 8% of all adults, KAA-Boomers included, suffer from some form of mood disorder. The good news is that exercise can help.

According to the 2001 Census, there are more baby boomers than ever in Canada–an increase of 36% between 1999 and 2001. As the population begins to shift to a different age bracket, health issues have shifted as well.

The Public Health Agency of Canada notes that about 8% of all adults will suffer from some form of mood disorder like anxiety or depression–and many of them are KAA-Boomers. If you’ve been feeling out of sorts, you’re not alone.

The good news is that you don’t have to run to your doctor when you have a low mood and receive some sort of drug prescription to help ease the gloom. More doctors than ever are prescribing exercise as a tool to help in battling the ups and the downs of everyday life–with no side effects or high prescription prices to add to your woes.

Identifying Whether You Have a Problem

Though aging can contribute to changes in your mood, not all mood issues are alike. In fact, there are a number of mood disorders that you might be suffering from–all with their own solutions and treatments.

Here are some questions you will want to ask yourself:

  • Have I been feeling sad?
  • Have I been avoiding other people or turning down invitations to social events?
  • Have I missed work because of feeling unmotivated?
  • Has my productivity at work decreased?
  • Have others expressed their concern about my moods?
  • Do I just not feel like myself anymore?

Recognising you have a problem is the first step toward making it go away. While there are doctors and therapists who want to give you pills and send you off to counselling sessions, your best caregiver can often be yourself.

You do have the power to change your life – so let’s get started.

Easy Solutions that Work

When you exercise, your body begins to work harder than it does at rest. Your heart beats faster and you breathe deeper, because you need to get more oxygen to the various muscles in your body–which translates into soaring energy levels. In addition, your body begins to release chemicals called endorphins that help to improve your performance, but also your mood. These chemicals, along with other neurotransmitters, send signals to your brain that you feel good. Ever heard of a runner’s high?

Exercise also allows you to reduce the levels of cortisol, a hormone which has been linked to causing stress and low moods, in your body. The more you exercise, the more confident you will feel, which can help you become more positive in your life and with other people.

The solution is to do just thirty minutes of exercise on most days of the week. It will help to stimulate your mood. And if you don’t have a full 30 minutes to spare, breaking it up into smaller “doses” is going to provide the same benefits. You can probably find three blocks of 10 minutes in your day, can’t you?

Try things like walking, running, dancing, aerobics, swimming, biking and hiking. Even housecleaning and simply walking around a grocery store can count toward helping your smile return.

Tips and Tools You Can Use Today

The main trouble with an exercise recommendation is that having a low mood often causes you to lose motivation to do things that might help. Sitting in your favourite armchair is much more appealing than going outside for a walk, but it’s probably not the best choice. But think of this lifestyle change as an investment that pays off in the future. Each time you exercise, it will get easier–and you will begin to enjoy it.

Here are some tips to help you fit exercise into your life:

  • Choose an exercise you enjoy doing. You’re not going to stick to running if you don’t like it. Try dancing or swimming or even walking. Exercise should be fun!
  • Wear headphones and listen to music as you exercise. You’re bound to find a better mood.
  • Try team activities that help you enhance your social muscles as well. Interacting with others is linked to better moods.
  • Look at your local gym for new classes. Try a new one each month.
  • Partner up with a friend or your spouse to keep each other on track.

Your mood doesn’t have to turn into “the way you are.” With exercise, you can change your mind as well as your body, making you the exciting and vibrant KAA-Boomer you know you still are.

Now, where are your shoes? It’s a lovely day for a walk!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ron Tedwater November 13, 2010 at 6:19 am

Great work keep it coming

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