The Mind-Body Connection: Move Yourself to a Better Mood

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The Mind-Body Connection

Move Yourself to a Better Mood

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Have you ever experienced "the blues"? Most people have felt down, anxious, worried, numb or sad—you fill in the blank. Prolonged feelings of sadness, usually for more than two weeks, can lead to depression.

One study found that in one decade (1987-1997) the number of Americans seeking professional help for mood disorders jumped from 1.7 million to 6.3 million (HealthScoutNews, Jan. 8, 2002). Mental illness has captured so much attention that Oct. 3-9 is National Mental Awareness Week.

Thankfully, there are some simple things that can help us get out of bad moods so we may not have to seek professional help.

Vigorous aerobic exercise produces a "runner's high" by releasing endorphins within our bodies. This type of activity produces overall feelings of well-being. We can achieve similar benefits by choosing an activity that we enjoy for just 10 minutes. Some activities include walking, bicycle riding, rollerblading, swimming, dancing and weight training.

By adding at least 30 minutes of physical activity to our day, we will gain health benefits for years to come, including feelings of well-being. So the next time you feel down, grab a buddy and go for a walk. VT