Our modern lifestyles have reduced the amount of physical activity and formalized exercise undertaken by the average person. We have become increasingly sedentary, with the side-effect of obesity. Studies show physical activity can help fight common triggers for depression, anxiety, and addictions. Adequate exercise (based on clinical guidelines) is associated with better overall mental health, while insufficient physical activity may be a risk factor. Other health benefits associated with formal physical activity include:
- Formal exercise appears to be a useful mood elevator. It is a cheap and safe intervention that comes with a wide range of additional health benefits.
- Exercise provides marked beneficial effects on self-efficacy and increases self-esteem (through regular activity scheduling and goal attainment) both important psychological issues among people who are in recovery. Even more, exercise may have additional beneficial effects by increasing social engagement and enhancing body image.
- Lastly, a form of exercise that combines a “mindfulness” element (discussed in the next tab) is the practice of yoga. There is evidence that, even in the short-term, the physiological benefits of yoga produces relaxation and a form of focus that may suppress or quiet rumination, which is common in addiction, depression, and anxiety.