Tuesday, February 24, 2015

{Exercise & Emotional Wellness} and GIVEAWAY!!

Hello again!!

It's been a little bit since the last post in the Emotional Wellness series, our daughter Ava had a heart procedure done through the Cath Lab up at Duke University to close an ASD hole that she has had since she was a baby. It went SO WELL :) Praising God for everything and for His hand over Ava through all of it! 

Now that things have slowed down a little bit I am excited to share the last post of the Emotional Wellness series and also for the giveaway at the end :) I love giveaways and I am so excited to get to share some of these tools with you!!

Today we are going to look at Exercise & Emotional Wellness! 

  • How does exercise help with anxiety and depression?

  • What are some things that we can be actively be doing with our bodies to support healthy thought processes and emotions?


Here is an excerpt of an article from Mercola that shares some very exciting research that has been done with active mice and sedentary mice comparing their stress responses. The results are VERY exciting:

"Exercise is known to create new excitable neurons in the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in thinking and emotions.
This would suggest that exercise might induce anxiety in physically active people, but, ironically, research shows that exercise is associated with reduced anxiety and calmness.
The reason for these seemingly incompatible exercise effects was recently explored by Princeton University, who appear to have revealed, as the New York Times put it, “an eye-opening demonstration of nature’s ingenuity.”1

Exercise Creates New Excitable Brain Cells… and Quiets Them When Necessary

Newly formed ‘young’ neurons can be prone to easy excitement, making them quite efficient at inducing anxiety. Physical exercise creates excitable new neurons in abundance, which is beneficial in the long run, but would be expected to increase anxiety rates in the short term.
However, a new animal study comparing running mice with sedentary mice found that while the exercising animals’ brains ‘teemed with many new, excitable neurons,’ they also contained new neurons designed to release a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA inhibits excessive neuronal firing.

This helps to induce a natural state of calm.2 Commonly prescribed anti-anxiety drugs like Ativan, Xanax and Valium actually exert a calming effect in this same manner, by boosting the action of GABA.
Exercise appears to go one step further, however, as when the mice were later exposed to a stressful situation, the study found that the exercising mice, as opposed to the sedentary mice, responded with only an initial rush of anxiety, followed by calm. What all of this suggests, one of the study’s authors noted:3
 “ … is that the hippocampus of runners is vastly different from that of sedentary animals. Not only are there more excitatory neurons and more excitatory synapses, but the inhibitory neurons are more likely to become activated, presumably to dampen the excitatory neurons, in response to stress.
… I think it’s not a huge stretch to suggest that the hippocampi of active people might be less susceptible to certain undesirable aspects of stress than those of sedentary people.”

Such exciting news and so encouraging for anyone who has some level of anxiety or depression. By being physically active our bodies are actually being prepared to be able to have a healthier stress response when stressors do come {not a matter of if but when right?}. 



"If you struggle with anxiety, you really can’t go wrong with starting a comprehensive exercise program – virtually any physical activity is likely to have positive effects, especially if it’s challenging enough. That said, Duke University researchers recently published a review of more than 100 studies that found yoga appears to be particularly beneficial for mental health.6 Lead author Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, a professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University Medical Center told Time Magazine:7
“Most individuals already know that yoga produces some kind of a calming effect. Individually, people feel better after doing the physical exercise. Mentally, people feel calmer, sharper, maybe more content. We thought it’s time to see if we could pull all [the literature] together… to see if there’s enough evidence that the benefits individual people notice can be used to help people with mental illness.”

According to their findings, yoga appears to have a positive effect on:
  • Mild depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Schizophrenia (among patients using medication)
  • ADHD (among patients using medication)
Some of the studies in the review suggested yoga can have a similar effect to antidepressants and psychotherapy, by influencing neurotransmitters and boosting serotonin. Separate research also found that three months of regular yoga sessions resulted in less anxiety and depression, with anxiety scores falling from an average of 34 (on a scale of 20-80) to an average of 25."
To do yoga on your own at home there are some classes available on YOUTUBE to get started with!

Circuit Training 
This can be done with body weight movements so that you are ready for a workout wherever you happen to be :) or if you have something near by to use as a weight that would work as well.
Choose how many repetitions of each movement you would like to do {10 is a good place to start}
Choose how many rounds you would like to do {3 is a good place to start if you are just beginning - better to start off nice and easy than to overdo it. Even a little exercise has shown to go a long way in helping with anxiety and depression.}
Choose 3 - 5 Movements such as: 
Jumping Jacks
Push Ups
or have fun creating your own movements - just make sure to keep good posture through out in order to protect your back from injury {no rounded back or slouching}. 
Here is a great circuit style OUTDOOR WORKOUT video from Jenni Hulburt {see her WEBSITE for additional great ideas on healthy eating, motivation, workouts and using essential oils!}

Running and/or Walking
Even 10 minutes of exercise has been shown to have an impact on anxiety and depression. So no need to feel that you can't do enough to see benefits from this, anything you do is a GREAT step! When you have a few minutes away from work or when you might be outside with the kiddos just take a few minutes to do a few laps around the yard.
Or you can mix it up by doing some intervals {run for a certain amount of time or a certain distance and then walk for that same time or distance, run again, walk again for as many times as you are ready to do}. This is a great way to make a game of it and at the same time getting your body moving and receiving the benefits of working out both emotionally and physically. 

There are lots of other options for working out, these are just a few ideas! Feel free to be creative and make up your own workouts with things that you enjoy doing, even in the places you enjoy being. Remember every step is important no matter how big or small it may seem at the time. For today do what is do-able for you right now, have fun with it and enjoy the benefits of being places you love to be and being active! 

Thank you for stopping by and I hope and pray this has been helpful and encouraging for you on your journey!! Please feel free to send a message over on this - - - - - - - > side of the screen with any questions that might have popped up or for more information on anything that was covered in this series. 
To be entered into the GIVEAWAY that will happen this Friday feel free to leave a comment below! The giveaway will include a copy of Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand gifts, a bottle of DoTERRA's Citrus Bliss Essential Oil blend and a jar of Better Body Coconut Oil to add to your own toolbox at home :) Looking forward to this! 

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