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Exercise for Mind and Body

The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Most people know that exercise is good for the body, but did you know that it can also boost your mood, improve your sleep, and relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression? These benefits may be more important than ever, as mental health issues are on the rise. The CDC recently announced that 40% of adults in the U.S. report mental health or substance abuse issues - a substantial increase over the past five years.

While exercise cannot "cure" these issues and should not be used as a substitute for medical care, numerous studies show that physical activity can:

  • Reduce overall stress, anxiety and depression

  • Increase energy and boost mood

  • Improve self perception, leading to a happier, healthier lifestyle

  • Increase cognitive function

  • Enhance sleep quality

The good news is, you don't need to run for miles or become a body builder to reap these benefits. Sure, aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging and swimming can improve your cardiac health and even add years to your life, but any type of regular exercise will provide mental health benefits. Research shows that even modest amounts of exercise can make a noticeable difference.

Exercise and Depression Think of exercise as powerful medicine without the side effects! Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as an antidepressant medication. In fact, a recent study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%.

Why is exercise so effective? First, it causes changes in the brain such as neural growth, reduced inflammation and new activity patterns, which combat depression. It also releases endorphins, which are the "feel good" chemicals in your brain that improve mood. Finally, exercise serves as a distraction, helping you break the cycle of negative thoughts that can lead to depression.

Exercise and Anxiety/Stress Exercise is a natural tension and stress reliever. As mentioned, it releases those feel good endorphins, which boost mood and well-being. But, there is also a mindfulness component to exercise that reduces anxiety. As you exercise, try focusing on each element - your feet hitting the ground as you walk, the breeze blowing, your surroundings, and the rhythm of your breath. This type of focus is proven to reduce anxiety by interrupting the worries running through your head.

In much the same way, exercise also reduces stress. When your body is under stress, you may feel tense muscles that lead to back and neck pain or headaches. You may also experience tightness in your chest, a racing pulse or sweaty palms. Over time, stress can cause insomnia, digestive issues, chronic pain and cognitive problems. Exercise can not only release endorphins that combat stress, but also reduce damaging levels of cortisol. It can also relieve muscle tension, relaxing both mind and body.

Start Feeling Better Today

If someone said you could have a scientifically proven mood booster and stress reliever that didn't require a prescription, didn't cause side effects, and was free, wouldn't you try it? Exercise fits the bill! No matter what your current physical limitations or activity level, you can still benefit from exercise. If you've been inactive, begin slowly with a short daily walk and some gentle stretches and strength exercises. (Note: It's important to consult with a physician before starting any exercise routine, especially if you have been sedentary.)

And, if you can exercise with a partner or furry friend in the great outdoors, you can increase the benefits significantly. An improved mood, better sleep, and a happier outlook may be just a walk away!

Elevate Your Exercises with PhysioBoard

Stretching and strengthening moves are an important part of any exercise routine. Unfortunately, many people have difficulty doing these because they cannot safely get down and up from the floor. Some people try exercising in bed to solve this problem, but mattresses do not provide the right surface to maintain proper form.

The solution is PhysioBoard! This sturdy, yet lightweight board transforms your bed into an effective exercise surface. Simply place it on your bed when you're ready to stretch or exercise, and remove it when you're done. Unlike bulky, expensive exercise tables, the PhysioBoard can be easily stored behind a door or in a closet. It also features comfortable foam padding and a water and bacteria-resistant cover that is machine washable.

PhysioBoard was designed by a physical therapist and an engineer to help people exercise on a raised surface. Whether you're unable to get up and down from the floor, or simply prefer not to, you'll love PhysioBoard. It's made out of a unique composite material that is both strong and lightweight. At only 11 pounds, it's light enough for almost anyone to easily move, yet it provides a sturdy surface for exercise. It's been used by patients recovering from surgeries, individuals with arthritis and other physical limitations, as well as young folks who have limited floor space!

Start elevating your exercises with PhysioBoard!

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