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FIEVE PSYCHIATRY CENTER

Ronald R. Fieve, M.D, PC

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New Year, New You – How Exercising Can Change Your Outlook

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The New Year is seen by many as an opportunity to begin anew. People make resolutions and promise themselves they’ll improve in various areas in the coming year. For those suffering from depression, it can be difficult to be optimistic or hopeful of a brighter year to come. Exercising is probably the last thing anyone suffering from depression wants to do. However, studies show that exercising stimulates new cell growth in the brain, and also releases endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of stress and pain. In addition, endorphins trigger feelings of positivity. Because exercising releases endorphins, exercise is an effective, all-natural anti-depressant.

Finding the motivation to get up and get active isn’t always easy. Here are a few tips on how you can ease into a healthy exercise regimen:

1.       Work out in the morning.

Starting your day off with light activity can set the pace for the rest of your day. You’ll be more alert and because the endorphins kick in during and after your workout, you’ll feel a positive boost of energy you can use for the rest of the day.

2.       Start at home.

You don’t have to go to the gym to get a good workout in. If you feel like staying indoors, you can get moderate exercise by simply cleaning your house, washing your car, shoveling the snow, or redecorating the walls with a new paint job.

3.       Start slow.

You don’t have to immediately haul yourself into training for a half marathon.  Set a realistic goal for yourself such as completing 30 minutes of light or moderate activity each day. Gradually add on time as you feel more comfortable and begin to notice the benefits.

4.       Incorporate yoga.

Studies suggest that yoga may have help with depression. Yoga incorporates deep, cyclical breathing which has been shown to relive depression symptoms. Yoga works to clear the head and calm the body and mind. A one-hour yoga class can help take your mind off negative thoughts and feelings.

5.       Work out with a friend.

If you are looking for familiar support, ask a loved one to take a walk with your or go for a light jog. Sometimes, just having someone there makes all the difference- even if no words are exchanged.

In addition to improving your mood, exercise also improves your physique. You’ll soon feel more confident and inspired to stay active! Cheers to you taking on the new year with a healthy mentality!

For additional information please contact the Fieve Depression Center at (212) 249-1600.

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