Lower your anxiety with Exercise

I know we have all seen plenty of articles on this subject. Well add another one to the list because a new year is around the corner and you should, once and for all, make exercise a priority. Notice I didn’t say lose weight, I didn’t say diet, I didn’t say train, EXERCISE.

Just exercise more, that’s it. I’m not saying change your eating habits, I mean if you want to down a pint of ice cream a day that’s cool. If you increase your exercise and everything else in your life remains the same you will lower your anxiety (and improve your health!).

I found a good article here that discusses this a little more in depth.

From the article: “More specifically, the follow-up analysis showed that “people with the lowest combined aerobic and muscular fitness had 98% higher odds of depression, 60% higher odds of anxiety, and 81% higher odds of having either one of the common mental health disorders, compared to those with high levels of overall fitness.”

Based on these findings, the authors speculate that aerobic and resistance training may offset the risk of experiencing depression, anxiety, and other common mental health disorders. “While broadly increasing physical activity will be beneficial, structured aerobic and resistance exercises with sufficient intensity to improve fitness may have a greater effect on risk reduction,” the authors note.”

Do something, anything ! GET MOVING !

Again this article isn’t pushing the fitness industry narratives we are all currently swarmed with. You know the super fit models doing some exercise and eating a handful of berries on one leaf of spinach? It’s creating an unobtainable goal for many people to pull you in, get your money, sell you products (fitness equipment, supplements, sleep aids, on and on) and keep you literally on a treadmill to extract as much money from you as possible.

Cynical enough? The point here is, and this study confirms that ANY increase in exercise is a net positive in combating anxiety and general mental health issues. This can be as little as once a day doing as many pushups as you can. Maybe increase your steps 2000 a day, jump rope for 5 min… you get the picture.

You don’t have to go on extreme diets, train like a professional athlete or be a genetic specimen to benefit from exercise. Small incremental increases in activity begin to translate into planned exercise. This can directly lead to anxiety relief and isn’t that what we are all looking for? This article supports that notion so go ahead, go out for a walk, every day.

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The Master Hormones: Estrogen & Testosterone

No matter your age, race, life choices etc. the master hormones for both men and women are paramount for a healthy life. For both men and women as we age, we begin to slow down production of these critical hormones. At all ages in adulthood you should be cognizant of your master hormone levels, as they influence so many health outcomes you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t.

I found this article that address both sexes

From the article:  “During a woman’s transition into menopause, a period often referred to as perimenopause, her progesterone, testosterone and estrogen levels begin declining. According to Cleveland Clinic, this raises a woman’s risk for CAD because estrogen increases good cholesterol (HDL), decreases bad cholesterol (LDL), relaxes blood vessels and absorbs free radicals in the blood that can potentially damage blood vessels.

As a man enters his 40’s, he begins experiencing andropause, an age-related decrease in testosterone. According to the Mayo Clinic, a man usually has a one percent drop in testosterone every year after age 40. Research published in Nature linked low testosterone levels with CAD risks such as obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, as well as an overall risk for cardiovascular disease.”

Now you may not be in your “40’s”, you may be 24, 32, 67, 78 it really doesn’t matter. What is important is that you understand your hormone levels in comparison to health averages. As an example, in my late 30’s early 40’s I felt like crap. I had my testosterone tested and I was 200 points below “normal”.

I increased my weight training and increased my testosterone via medication and now feel great and within the health range. For both men and women, medication is an avenue should you chose it but there are plenty of food choices you can make to help improve your hormone levels. (which the article above includes).

The next time you go to your doctor ask them to test your hormone levels. Having a base line number for yourself allows you to monitor where you land in comparison to averages. Moreover, the more in balance your master hormone is the better outcomes you have with mental and physical health. You’re doing great ! One day at a time….

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How Weight Training can help you

Most of us exercise or rather we should be. Are you lifting weights? Male female doesn’t matter, lifting weights is very good for your health. In addition to that weight lifting can help with your self-esteem. I found a very good article here that discusses this concept at length.

From the article: Weight training can help reduce the symptoms of depression.1 Since a common symptom of depression is low self-esteem, it’s no wonder that so many people who suffer from depression and start lifting weights report improvements in their self-esteem. Weight training changes your brain chemistry, releasing endorphins, which helps to improve your mood. And when you’re in a positive mood, it’s easier to lift yourself out of a pattern of negative self-talk.”

Self esteem is paramount to good health. Even when you have down times when you have good self esteem you recover faster. I discussed in an old blog post here, about low testosterone for men, weight lifting will help with this. I am unsure on the master hormone for women, Estrogen but I am confident when I say lifting weights will help both genders tremendously, if for nothing else the fitness value of increased muscle.

Self Esteem is a complex concept, we are all at different places in our journey through anxiety. How you feel about yourself is a hard thing to gauge as day to day it changes. When you lift weights, you build muscle, when you build muscle you APPEAR more physically fit. This physical manifestation has tremendous mental health benefits. Look, I’m not going out on a limb here, if you think you look better you are mentally going to feel better.

Don’t be afraid to go to the gym and lift to gain muscle. Women, don’t be afraid to gain muscle, thus gain weight. Its okay, you’re going to look awesome. Its good for you, and its very good for your self esteem which boosts your mental health.

You can do it, you’re doing great, one day at a time.