No Excuses! Daily Exercise to Prevent and Treat Mental Illness

We know exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain health overall and long term. We also know that daily exercise is more effective than antidepressants for treatment of mild to moderate depression and other mental illness.

Now another study has released results that say that daily exercise can actually prevent mental illness. 

Even with all of the research, everyone has excuses:

– I don’t have time
– I don’t have the energy
– I don’t have any money
– I’m too depressed
– I’m too injured
– I need a buddy
– I don’t want to.

I’m telling you there are no excuses – it’s just about how badly you want to feel better. I’ve been a solo parent for 10 years. I’ve worked up to 4 jobs at a time to provide for my family including being a working single mom that went back to grad school. I have only missed workouts for illness or when rest was more healthy than movement. When I have had injuries, I have switched the kind of workouts I’ve done. And I’ve always had to workout alone (although sometimes my kids join me).

I do it because I want to live a long healthy life for sure, but I also do it because I have a high stress job and a busy life. I do it because I want to set an example of healthy living and self care for my kids who are in turn choosing daily activities and sports because it’s part of our overall family lifestyle.

I have a million excuses of being too busy, too tired, too stress, too poor, etc. to not exercise daily. I don’t allow them. The science is clear and I’m following it. It’s one thing I do have control over. If I can find time to schedule a workout everyday, I believe you can too. Get creative! You will feel better – I promise – 100% – if you start moving your body everyday.

Choose your activity wisely based on where you are physically and with your stress levels
Long cardio is being shown to be ineffective for weight loss compared to other workouts but beyond that it’s often boring. Even if it wasn’t, the time commitment is daunting and it seems to require a lot of effort.

Shorter, more intense workouts, interval training and resistance or weight training are more effective for overall strength, conditioning, and even weight loss. Maximize your efforts with these. They are free all over the internet! Also be careful if you are under chronic stress to be cautious with intense workouts. Some of the really hardcore workouts can further exhaust your adrenal glands exacerbating your stress response and adding extra weight. (This happened to me with CrossFit). Try to find something you love – your body won’t fight against you so much.

Look at balance.
Mix up weights with yoga, add short bursts of cardio with longer walks or hikes, try out. I believe everyone should be lifting weights. Women – lift heavier than you think – it will change your body, your metabolism and strengthen your bones. You won’t get big, you’ll get strong.

Force yourself. That’s right. You aren’t going to want to do this.
Some days more than others – but again, how badly do you want to feel better? If you’re not willing to take 12 minutes a day to devote to your mental, emotional, and physical health and well being and overall disease prevention and longevity, I feel like you lose the right to complain.

There are no excuses.
Almost anyone can find something that works for them for 12 minutes a day (or even 6). Nutrition, exercise, sleep, supplementation – these are foundational for your health and well being for the rest of your life. There is transformation from this alone that happens when you start and commit to it and make it a part of your life for the rest of your life.