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Supporting Your Mental Health Through Exercise

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Mental health exerciseWhen you hear the word exercise, you might envision gyms full of body-builders or at-home DVD programs. You probably think of people working off extra inches to fit into cute jeans or trying to get ready for beach weather.

What many people don’t realize when they think of exercise, though, is how vital moving our bodies truly is to maintaining and managing our health — not just our physical health, but our mental health. Getting your body moving can help to alleviate the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, even just five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.

In an article from the American Psychological Association (APA), Jennifer Carter, PhD, suggests to her patients that, as she counsels them, they stroll through the woods surrounding her offices. “I often recommend exercise for my psychotherapy clients, particularly for those who are anxious or depressed,” Carter said.

If you are already experiencing anxiety or depression, either as a co-occurring disorder with Borderline Personality Disorder or on its own, starting an exercise regimen can be an even taller order than it is for most people. Here are some ideas for starting to improve your mental health through fun and low-impact exercise at a rate that is comfortable and beneficial for your mental state.

Go Yoga 

Yoga is a low-impact way to get in the habit of moving and stretching your body. Yoga has the added benefit of lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety, and helping with breathing and centering your mind and body. Yoga is so beneficial to your mental health that many treatment centers for BPD, anxiety, and depression offer yoga as part of their recovery programs.

Walk It Off

This seems obvious, doesn’t it? Walking is probably one of the safest and lowest impact exercises with the highest benefits, and you don’t need to belong to a gym to do it. The only thing you need, outside of your two feet, is a good pair of comfortable walking shoes. Walking will not only reduce your stress, it will lower your blood pressure and reduce your anxiety.

Just Keep Swimming

Swimming is one of the most ideal low-impact exercises. The buoyancy of the water puts less stress on the body, bones, and joints, and the activity can increase your endurance and flexibility, as well as build muscles. Beyond that, swimming is a fun and relaxing way to move your body. Not to mention the fact that, often, where there is a swimming pool, there is a hot tub.

Fostering a connection between mind and body paves a powerful road toward getting back in touch with your sense of self and can go a long way toward diminishing the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, depression, and anxiety.

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