How much exercise?
Any amount of exercise will help. And the more you do, the better you’ll feel, which will give you more energy to step it up a notch. Start with what- ever you can handle and gradually work your way up to more.
Once you can manage 20 minutes of moderate exercise three times per week, you’re golden. That much is enough to make a big difference in depression or anxiety levels. And when you’re ready for even more, you can aim for maximum benefits with at least 30 minutes of heart-pumping activity, five or more days each week. But remember, you can get there over time.
In the beginning, just do something. Walk around the block, dance to your favorite song – anything you add into your day is a start,and getting started will help you to build up energy and motivation for next time.
You’ll need to keep moving for a few weeks before you notice a change. But once you start feeling better, it’ll be worth it.
What’s the best kind of exercise?
The best kind of exercise is the one you enjoy – the one you want to keep doing. Try a few out and see what works for you. Researchers have found that, when it’s possible, group exercise is better than working out by yourself.
Friends keep you company, make exercising fun, and help keep you motivated to continue. But solo exercise still helps your brain. Cycling seems to be the most effective solo exercise for most people, though you may find that jogging or swimming is better for you.
Group exercises you can try include: basketball, dance lessons, water polo, hiking, martial arts, rock climbing, speed walking, and any sport or that gets your blood pumping. Sky’s the limit – pick something you love, try something new and exciting, or choose something simple close to home, whichever sounds best to you.
Depression and anxiety are exhausting, and we know exercise sounds hard right now. We also know you are stronger than you feel, and every little bit of movement you can manage will help. Set goals you can reach, and get out there!