If you're suffering from depression, exercise may be the last thing on your mind. But in addition to helping prevent and manage a number of leading heath conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure, exercise can help you learn to relax and improve your mood.
While the connection isn't completely clear, what is certain is that exercising releases endorphins into the brain, which makes you feel better. And don't let the term "exercising" intimidate you. You don't have to be lifting weights or running on a treadmill at the gym. A brisk walk can have an impact on your heal...and so can gardening, bicycling, and even yoga. Here are some ways to help you get started.
Take The Stairs: If you work in a building with stairs (or even if you have a flight at home) take a break and dart up and down them as many times as you can in 10 minutes. Sure your co-workers may think you're confused, but you'll get your heart going.
Walk Around the Block: As simple as it may sound, taking a 10-minute break at work and taking a brisk walk can do wonders for your heart and your mood. It also helps focus your thoughts and energy on yourself and helps with your breathing.
Jumping Jacks and Jumping Rope: Want to feel like a kid again? Try going retro with one of these old-school exercises. They're fun, will get your heart pumping and you can do them pretty much anywhere. Just do the exercise for three minutes, rest for one, and then do another set. Overtime you'll be able to extend your times.
Jogging: Running doesn't have to be high-impact to produce results. Start slow and focus on a soft jog for at least a block. (But continue walking for the remainder of the 10 minutes.) Once you can do that comfortably, add another block.
If you only have 10 minutes, you can make the most of it by doing an exercise that works different muscle groups at once.
Sit-Ups: You can work both your ab muscles and hip flexors by doing the standard sit-up exercise. Start by lying flat on the floor with your hands clasped behind your head. Bend your knees to help reduce stress on your lower back, and then tighten your abs, raising your torso to your knees. Repeat for at least 10 reps before resting.
Push-Ups: Push-ups work your triceps and your pectoral muscles. If starting out on the floor is beyond your capability, try "wall" push-ups; lean against a wall at a 75 degree angle, place your palms on the wall and press out. Repeat for at least 10 reps.
Stretching At Your Desk: Even if you can't get away from your desk, there are some simple stretches you can do at your desk that can help you relax and release tension.
- Finger Pointing: Straighten your back and place your arms out in front of you. Point all of your fingers out toward the horizon and stretch them as far as possible. Relax your arms back to your side and repeat.
- Shoulder Stretch: Raise your arms on in the air and stretch them up as far as comfortable; hold for 10 seconds. Then relax your arms down to your sides and repeat. This will release built-up tension in your shoulders.
- Neck Stretches: Slowly and gently, stretch your neck forward and then to the back. The stretch your neck from side to side, and then in a circles. Just be careful to go slow so as not to injure your neck.