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URMC / BHP / BHP Blog / July 2015 / Physical Activity and Mental Health

Physical Activity and Mental Health

There’s enough good research now to convince us that exercise can help to ease depression and anxiety, and can even keep people from becoming depressed or anxious. Physical health and mental health go hand in hand.

Take the case of depression and diabetes, which often go together. Exercise targets both diabetes and mood. We know now that exercise produces better blood sugar control and improved mood among people with diabetes. Still, exercise is one of those things that sound like a good idea, but for many of us it can be hard to find the time or energy.

Experts give four tips to building a plan for physical activity:

  1. First, do something that YOU like to do. Maybe you’d like to garden but not go on a jog. That’s fine.
  2. Next, spread it out and take it slow. The “weekend warrior” approach to exercise can lead to injury and burn out. And the pay-off in terms of mood is better with more moderate exercise.
  3. Third, find an exercise partner or someone who cheers you on.
  4. Finally, and most importantly, be patient with yourself and ask for help if you need it.

Sometimes depression and anxiety drain our energy and make exercise seem impossible. If that’s the case, think about taking advantage of one of the WELL-U programs to help you get moving again. The Strong Employee Assistance Program can help you evaluate your needs. And remember that Behavioral Health Partners is here for employees and family members with mental health services for depression and anxiety.

Steven P Brown | 7/1/2015

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