Exercise and Mental Health

October 10th is World Mental Health Day! Yesterday I wrote about developing a movement plan for the winter months and thinking about movement as nutrition. I had to trim that blog post down and save part of it for another time, which is now!

I’m also encouraging the development of a winter movement plan for our mental health.  The stress of the last 6 months is accumulating as we head into November’s election.  People are reporting anxiety at three times and depression at four times that of pre-Pandemic times.[1] And winter can intensify the blues for many people and some may even experience seasonal affective disorder. [2]

We also know that exercise and mental health are linked.  Research shows that people who spend three hours a week doing any physical activity are less likely to become depressed than more sedentary counterparts.[3]  I’m going to repeat the ANY part of “any physical activity.”  I suggest you pick something you love doing.  Anything!

During these stressful times, we might consider increasing efforts towards selfcare in all areas – movement, nutrition, mindfulness, sleep.  The world needs a lot of love right now.  And I suggest we start with ourselves so that we can show empathy and kindness towards others.

On a more more personal note, two articles inspired me this week.  Martha Beck’s blog on Becoming a Samurai Sword in 2020 as well as a New York Time’s article on What Scandinavians Can Teach Us About Embracing Winter.  Enjoy!

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixaby