Now that the weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter, I find myself as you may too, for no apparent reason, feeling a little blue. So I dust off my sneakers and get ready to move because I know cardio exercise improves mood.
Research shows that cardio exercise improves mood because it increases levels of serotonin and endorphins in the brain. These are important neurochemical transmitters, which help to elevate and stabilize your mood.
In fact one of the known causes of depression is a lowered level of serotonin. Aerobic exercise can be as effective as medication for relieving mild to moderate depression in many cases.
More Reasons Why Cardio Exercise Improves Mood
There is more to cardio exercise than serotonin and endorphins. It helps lower adrenaline, a chemical associated with stress to help promote relaxation. And as you become more fit you feel better about how you look and feel. This can give you a positive outlook in general. Try some easy aerobics. You may just cardio dance your troubles away. I make sure I’m exercising aerobically most days of the week, at least for 30-60 minutes. I not only feel my spirits lift while I’m exercising but for many hours afterwards.
Are You Depressed?
The standard symptoms for depression are:
- Persistent feelings of sadness or “emptiness”
- Sense of hopelessness, worthlessness, and guilt
- Inability to enjoy ordinary pleasurable activities, including sex
- Noticeable change of appetite, possibly accompanied by significant weight loss or weight gain
- Shifts in sleeping patterns, such as insomnia or sleeping too much
- Difficulty concentrating, persistent irritability, excessive crying
- Preoccupation with thoughts of death or suicide
- Decreased energy, fatigue
- Persistent aches and pains
Many things can cause depression. They range from some medications to low levels of light during the winter months. Alcohol and a poor diet, as well as inherited predisposition, can lead to the condition as well. Before you decide on asking your doctor for an anti-depressant prescription, adopt the healthy lifestyle habits of a nutritious diet, regular exercise and enough sleep. If things don’t improve, of course, seek medical help.
So try my take on the old Arlen & Koehler song lyric that Judy Garland sang, “forget your troubles, come on get happy” you can exercise your blues away.
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