I have read the previous post about writing, art, music and poems to escape depression; however, I am surprised to see that no one has blogged about exercise.
Today I attended a presentation by Dr. Jonathon Fowles from Acadia University on Exercise Prescription in Primary Care. I have been a fan of fighting depression with exercise since a young age so it was an interesting opportunity for myself. It was interesting to learn today from Dr. Fowles that regular physical activity can decrease depression as effectively as medications or behavioral therapy. One initiative that Exercise is Medicine Canada is trying to implement is for Health professionals to give clients exercise prescriptions and referrals. I believe this medical care would highly increase health in Canada and would most certainly decrease depression and anxiety rates.
Having been “in shape” for so many years (probably about 10 years now) I still find it hard to speak about my experiences with my weight and depression.
In my youth from about 4 years to 15 years my weight fluctuated greatly. I was on and off of diets and my mood went up and down -I hated the way I looked and felt. To make the matters worse I had about every name in the book – wide load was one of the absolute worst and humiliating name I would say I was ever given (the other one I will not even say because I am so humiliated by it). The feelings of worthlessness and shame still haunt me.
Around the age of 14 I started to take walks down my road and exercise to a Pilates DVD at home. The benefits exercise brought changed the way I looked and best of all the way I felt. I am much more focused and happy when I exercise and although I still love the way exercise makes me look – today my number one reason I exercise is to manage my mental health.
When I am sedentary for too many days at a time I am not my best self.
I encourage anyone who is dealing with a mental illness primarily depression – to seek exercise as a therapy.