We hear it all the time: exercise will help you lose weight, have better skin, and feel good about yourself. But did you know that working up a sweat has been directly tied to lessening depression, anxiety, or feeling overwhelmed? No matter your lifestyle, our busy world can often leave us feeling run ragged with all of our responsibilities, an easy way for anxiety or depression to sneak in. If you’d like to try it and see if working out really does reduce your mental cartwheels, research has shown that these are the three best types of exercise you can get do:
1. Go for a run: we know. Sweaty sports bras, huffing and puffing, and the sun in your eyes. But also: new comfy sneakers, tunes you dig, and an invigorating feeling no matter your pace. Running also torches calories, which is great to keep your body mass index in the right range (key for fertility), and decreases food cravings from which you might suffer. The exercise, perhaps because of the repetitive motion of our legs, seems to have a meditative effect on our brains, creating lasting effective changes to our “feel good” brain signals both during and for awhile after we run. In fact, it works similarly to antidepressants, promoting the growth of new neurons in our mind, according to one study. Running also helps you fall asleep better, and we all know we need more of that.
2. Take a yoga class: Many who engage in yoga participate for both the toning and the mental health benefits. Studies have shown participants saw reductions in anger, anxiety, and depression after taking regular yoga classes. Stress relief from the specific poses and calming your mind to focus is a great benefit. The breathing practice paired with every yoga class is also a skill you can use many other times in life to help calm and focus yourself. Those in the mental health field believe it’s difficult to be anxious when you are breathing deeply.
3. Go for a hike: Nature, especially walking through the woods, can subtly calm our minds. You’ve experienced it – the sunlight filtering through the trees, the smell of earth and plants, the crackle of old leaves – it all goes together so nicely. Some think that the plants and slowly decaying trees are key in reducing our stress and anxiety because they actually release chemicals. Those chemicals slow down their own decay, and might also cause us to somehow slow down and relax a bit as well. Walking in nature can also improve your memory, according to some studies.
So if you’re feeling worrisome, tension, or are overwhelmed, try out one of these options this weekend and see if you feel more relaxed afterward. Make it a regular thing and you might even see a significant change in your outlook! If you’re looking for more ways to keep your stress levels low while working through infertility, or have questions on how we can help you create a family please contact us anytime at 717-747-3099 or click on the button below.
Dr. Melanie Ochalski
P.S. If you’d like to learn more about our practice, you can check out our free webinar here.