Get Moving: The First Option to Treat Depression & Anxiety

While it’s common knowledge that exercise is good for us, the results of a recent study* in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows what a powerful impact it has on our mental health. In fact, the study concludes, exercise should seriously be considered as the first treatment option for depression, anxiety and psychological distress in adults.

It’s a great reminder of the importance of maintaining your Resilience Rituals (Chapter 3, Your Oxygen Mask First, Double Your Resilience). This is about taking time to do things that build and maintain your resilience – body, mind and spirit.

That includes regular exercise that you enjoy and do consistently. Walk your dog, shoot hoops with your kids, play a pick-up game of basketball or golf with friends.

This umbrella scientific review found, in some cases, that physical activity was 1.5 times more effective than counselling or medication in tackling depression. And it doesn’t take long to make a measurable, positive change to mental health: only 12 weeks or less had the most significant impact.

Of course, one size doesn’t fit all, and mental health issues can be complex so it’s always wise to talk to your doctor or a therapist if you are struggling.

And don’t wait to start until you are struggling, when it’s harder to start something new. If you continue to make exercise and resilience rituals a part of your life, you’ll be stronger and more able to take on whatever life throws at you.

The Challenge

  • Are you doing your resilience rituals and getting enough activity?
  • If so, what can you do to take it up a notch?

Additional Blogs

* Effectiveness of Physical Activity Interventions for Improving Depression, Anxiety and Distress: an Overview of Systematic Reviews. (Dr. Ben Singh, Olds, Curtis, Dumuid, Virgara, Watson, Szeto, O’Connor, Ferguson, Eglitis, Miatke, Simpson, Maher) University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.

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