Everyday Living, Fitness, New Face of 60


Mental Health, Depression, Stress and Opioid dependency seem to be everywhere these days…..with so many “public” people taking their own lives and others being highlighted in the press, it seemed appropriate to share this information. You can find additional information about preventing Opioid problems on our site in both written and audio format.

Unfortunately, our “over 50” population is particularly susceptible.  They often see more than one physician (this can promote the issuing of several medications which may or may not work well together) and are living alone in isolation.  A great idea for this group is to start a walking group or yoga class.  Anything that involves a social aspect is fun!

“Exercise works as well as antidepressants in treating depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges…..” says Dr. McNeill

Each year, there are numerous studies that show exercise and outdoor activities improve psychological well-being.  It’s SO simple and inexpensive, movement is an often neglected intervention in mental health care.  Yet, plenty of studies have indicated exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as any antidepressant WITHOUT THE SIDE EFFECTS!  It naturally reduces stress and anxiety and improves concentration, memory and mood says Dr. Gingrich with the Vail Mental Health Center.   It decreases the severity of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms and improves cognitive function.  Furthermore, participating in enjoyable and meaningful activities helps reduce the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.  Exercise also aids in feel-good chemical production, such as seratonin, which the body stops producing in efficient quantities once it’s been stuck in a stress response pattern.

For someone who is anxious or depressed and they commit to exercising, it gives them a sense of self-mastery.  It provides feelings of self-confidence and well-being.  For those isolated and struggling with these issues, it’s often almost impossible to get out of bed and get started.  But, once they start they feel MUCH better.  They are able to let go of negative thoughts or sad stories by dropping excuses and “starting small” with 5 minutes of movement.

“If you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for someone you love,” Dr. McNeill.

Of course, exercise doesn’t fix everything magically……but it’s a start!  I think we as Americans look for the “magic pill”.  This is a “lifestyle” change and will take time and consistency.

Get out and MOVE.



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