Movement is Medicine: Mental Health and “The Wonder Pill”

I read an article this past week which stated that exercise is the most under prescribed medication for mental health; even though it is proven to be hugely beneficial.

The article in Dair Magazine, written by Giles Mountford, contained words by Dr. Rosemary Leonard MBE. The article really resonated with me as I truly believe we are too quick to prescribe drugs to ‘fix’ our problems when in actual fact there are cheaper, healthier, more long lasting alternatives.

“If you could put exercise in a pill, it would be a wonder pill.”

Dr. Rosemary Leonard MBE; Dair Magazine; 10/10/2018

This past week, on the day the article was released to be exact, was world mental health day. A day that a huge amount of people took to social media to share their own experiences of mental health, offer their support to others that have experienced mental health issues and try to banish the stigma that comes with the mental health label.

It is crazy how so many people suffer with some form of mental health and yet we are too scared or embarrassed to talk candidly about it in everyday life. Luckily this is changing and more people are facing the fear and talking about things instead of hiding in their own heads – which is where the mental health gremlin is strongest. It is truly great that as a society we are becoming more aware of our mental health; but are we merely talking about an issue without offering a solution?

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More and more people are suffering with mental health issues. With social media being at the forefront of our society it is hard to feel content and happy with your lot, instead we are constantly comparing ourselves, what we have and our lives to those around us… even with those that we don’t know! It’s crazy but it’s happening. So how do we help our mental health when we are creating a world that seems intent on destroying it?

 

What can we do?

Talk more

Go outside more

Sleep better

Practice Yoga

Eat healthy

Exercise

Journal

Meditate

Discover Mindfulness

And the list goes on…

Now all of the above are activities that are free, or at least in expensive, yet when we head to our doctors to discuss our mental health they aren’t always the first thing that is prescribed. Now without sounding too cynical; the medical industry needs our money, they need for us to buy the drugs they prescribe to keep themselves in business – just like every business. Money makes the world go around – It’s sad but it’s true.

Let me ask you this…would you would rather put your money into something that will not only help your mental health but will have more of a long term positive effect or spend the rest of your life on medication?

Exercise is the most under used yet most effective drug.

Exercise not only strengthens your bones and muscles, improves cardio vascularity and aids weight loss but it also has a positive effect on your mental wellbeing.

How many of you have felt terrible, like its another one of those days, not really wanted to head to the gym or go out for that run but begrudgingly forced yourself to just do it! and ended up feeling so much better after that burst of exercise? I know I have… many a times.

When we exercise our body produces endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in the brain as well as produce a positive feeling in the body; giving us a ‘high’ similar to that of morphine. So when you’re feeling low and just want to curl up under your duvet and hide from the world; the best thing you can actually do is throw on your gym gear and get moving!

The great thing is you don’t need to spend all your money in order to receive this ‘wonder pill’ either. You can exercise in your own home, follow a video online, go out for a walk or jog, practice some yoga in your living room… you don’t have to spend hundreds in order to implement a bit of exercise into your life.

Sure, motivation can play a huge part in your lack of exercise, which is where paying for a PT or coach would come in useful, but know that if you do choose to pay for a PT or coach at least you’re investing in your long term happiness instead of accepting the fate of a medicated life.

Remember: Movement is medicine.

So get moving and start investing in your happiness. The mental health gremlin will hate you for it but your mind, body and soul will love you for it!

Let me know what you have done this week to help your mental health! You’ve got this!

#bettyoucan #bettican #bettwecan

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