Active-Steps-Improving-Mental-Wellbeing-with-Exercise

Active Steps: Improving Mental Wellbeing with Exercise

Depression is increasingly becoming a common problem for many individuals. It is often difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of depression – because there are so many possible triggers – and even more difficult to find the right coping mechanisms. However, natural coping mechanisms such as physical activity may act as a great natural antidepressant for some people. Physical activity is not only known for improving physical health, but also known for improving mental health. Making an effort to squeeze exercise into your daily routine can increase energy and improve overall mental wellbeing!

Energy Boost: By doing a simple workout such as biking, walking, running, or weight lifting, you can gain more energy during the day and work more efficiently. Breaking a sweat can increase your heart rate and ultimately increase oxygen levels in your brain!

Mood Enhancer: Physical activity has been proven to decrease depression through mood enhancement by producing higher levels of serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that stimulates activity signals in the brain. It allows you to feel great by producing higher endorphin levels and decreasing a stress-producing hormone known as cortisol. With an increase in serotonin levels, you may find improved: – Sleeping patterns – Appetite – Energy levels – Work efficiency – Memory – Social interaction

Overcoming Obstacles: Since depression may prevent you from feeling motivated to start new habits, waking up early or getting out of bed, it may take time to initiate a permanent change in your daily routine. Before adding physical activity, it is important to visit your physician to evaluate your overall health by seeking therapy, starting antidepressants, if needed; and establishing the right and safe physical activity levels.

Taking Little Steps: Although becoming completely committed to incorporating physical activity to your daily routine may be difficult at first, give yourself time to get adjusted by making small incremental changes. There will be days where you feel down and skip a workout, but that's okay, those days will pass and you can get right back on track the following days.

Workout Buddy: Finding the right person to join your workout can be beneficial in helping you achieve your physical activity goals. A workout buddy can encourage you to stay committed to incorporating physical activity into your life and be a great physical and emotional support to improve mental wellbeing.

It is important to recognize how physical and mental wellbeing are related. Making physical activity a priority can aid in the prevention of chronic diseases and decrease the impact of stress on the body. By improving our ability to manage the impact of stress on our body, we may also improve our overall mental wellbeing.

By Amira Moujir, Dietetic Intern at the Tulane PRC
December 2016

(Photo courtesy of CDC PRC Program)

(Active Steps is a recurring feature that appears regularly in the Tulane PRC’s e-newsletters and covers fitness and physical activity tips. If you have any suggestions for Active Steps topics, please contact Naomi Englar at nking2@tulane.edu or 504-988-7410.)

Topics:   physical activity , walking , running , biking

Other Related Posts

Evaluation-finds-value-in-culinary-programming-at-school-based-gardens-

Evaluation finds value in culinary programming at school-based gardens

Food Environment Research

Published: September 06, 2018

School-based kitchen garden programs across the country are known to improve fruit and vegetable knowledge and consumption among school children, but their value has not yet been well quantified using research methods. Evaluation of Edible Schoolyard New Orleans (ESYNOLA), coordinated by the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC), sought to share how the whole school community – students, families, teachers, and neighbors – can participate in the growing, harvesting and sharing of food together as a…

Read More

Message-from-the-Director

Message from the Director

Core Research

Published: September 06, 2018

My message this month is a conflicted one because we have both bad news and good news. It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce the resignation of Keelia O'Malley, MPH, (pictured left) as Assistant Director of the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC). Keelia has been an energetic PRC staff person who has performed 24/7 in her role as supervisor, office manager, grants researcher, community representative and more. Keelia first came to…

Read More

Seminars-to-feature-intersections-of-health-racism-and-communication

Seminars to feature intersections of health, racism, and communication

Education & Engagement

Published: September 04, 2018

A three-part series of public seminars at Tulane is teaching attendees how to communicate about the influence of racism on health by featuring prominent local leaders. "We hope attendees will learn new ways of addressing racism in their work by hearing from leaders working in different settings to further people's health," said Shokufeh Ramirez, Assistant Director of the Tulane Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health (CEMCH). "The effects of racism are pervasive and,…

Read More

Legislative-Updates

Legislative Updates

Education & Engagement

Published: September 04, 2018

New Orleans Mayor appointments new city health chief In July, two months after taking office, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell named Jennifer Avegno, MD, to serve as the Director of the New Orleans Department of Health. A New Orleans native, Avegno previously served as the Director of the Division of Community Health Relations & Engagement at LSU Emergency Medicine. She also served in overlapping capacities as an academic faculty member and staff physician throughout New…

Read More

Community-Partner-Updates

Community Partner Updates

Education & Engagement

Published: September 02, 2018

See what our Community Advisory Board (CAB) members and partners have been up to recently! Click on the photo for a gallery of pictures, and read below for related updates. To find out more about our partners, click here to visit our Community Partners page. Bike Easy (Pictures 1-3) This September, Bike Easy and a coalition of partners are working with the City of New Orleans to install a 3-month “pop-up” demonstration of a connected,…

Read More

Walk-Bike-Places-international-conference-features-Tulane-PRC-mobile-workshops

Walk Bike Places international conference features Tulane PRC mobile workshops

Physical Activity Research

Published: September 01, 2018

In September, more than 1,000 professionals and advocates of walking, biking, and place-based improvements will visit New Orleans for the international conference Walk Bike Places. The Tulane Prevention Research Center will participate in the meeting by leading two morning bike-tour mobile workshops: Monday, Sept. 17, 2018: Neighborhood Storytelling Projects of New Orleans Bike Tour, featuring the Tulane PRC's community-based health promotion program Movin' for LIFE Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018: New Orleans Healthy Food Retail Bike…

Read More

Tulane-alum-takes-helm-of-international-food-and-cooking-education-nonprofit

Tulane alum takes helm of international food and cooking education nonprofit

Education & Engagement

Published: September 01, 2018

Recent Tulane graduate Robert Palestina has his sights set on taking The Cookbook Project, an international nonprofit based in New Orleans, to the next level. Palestina, Tulane SPHTM '18, took over as executive director this summer, after completing a 300-hour internship with the nonprofit in 2017. The internship was facilitated by the Tulane Prevention Research Center's Health Promotion Practicum Program, which matches community partners with public health interns. One of his responsibilities was helping the…

Read More

Team-Spotlight

Team Spotlight

Education & Engagement

Published: September 01, 2018

We had a productive summer thanks to our two outstanding graduate research assistants Emily Szklarski and Rosemary Kovacic. Emily Szklarski (pictured left) joined our staff in March 2018 as our Graduate Communications Research Assistant to work on our e-newsletters – Fitting New Orleans and Healthscaping – as well as maintaining our social media accounts and communications locally and nationally. This summer Emily collaborated with the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine’s Nutrition Section…

Read More

Tulane-PRC-teams-up-with-Blue-Bikes-to-promote-university-discounts

Tulane PRC teams up with Blue Bikes to promote university discounts

Education & Engagement

Published: September 01, 2018

The Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) is teaming up with New Orleans' bike-share program this September to encourage the use of short-term bike rentals and overall bike safety. Blue Bikes, the city's bike-share system, has created a special rate for university faculty, staff, and students. In order to promote this special rate, the Tulane PRC and Tulane Office of Sustainability are hosting a tabling event on Tulane's downtown campus. Local bike advocacy nonprofit Bike Easy…

Read More

Tulane-PRC-surveys-people-using-and-crossing-Lafitte-Greenway-linear-park

Tulane PRC surveys people using and crossing Lafitte Greenway linear park

Education & Engagement Physical Activity Research

Published: June 30, 2018

As New Orleans moves toward 'complete streets', organizations are taking a closer look at non-motorized transportation. More bicycle lanes and walking paths are being installed throughout the city so it is important that pedestrians, cyclists and motorists interact with each other safely. Over the past year, a Tulane team of faculty, staff, and students, have been studying safety and use along the Lafitte Greenway, one of these multi-use paths. The Lafitte Greenway is a 2.6-mile…

Read More

canary