Health Advocate Blog

Exercise for focus, moods and more

How to get moving (no matter what!)

Want something to counter negative moods, anxiety, and depression, while also helping you sleep better, improve social interactions, and boost your energy, memory, and attention span? Physical activity’s effects on your brain offer the right prescription! If you’re feeling drained, down and stuck, these tips can help you overcome those hurdles and make physical activity a lifelong habit.

Lean into everyday household activities. Gym workouts aren’t the only way to start feeling more energized. Forgo the leaf blower and opt to rake the leaves or broom-sweep the deck for a good half hour. Or try dancing while you’re dusting.

Focus on the feel-good boost you’ll get! The key is to start slow and easy. For example, if you’re feeling too exhausted to leave the couch, just plan on a brief brisk walk for, say, 10 minutes, assuring yourself you can return to the couch afterwards. The energy and uplift you experience can spur you on to increase the length of your walks, helping you feel great about yourself, more energized and ready to keep moving!  

Don’t let a tight schedule hold you back. Make your goal to exercise regularly whenever you can. Maybe that means you’ll take laps around the soccer field during your kid’s practice every Saturday.

Look for activities that help stimulate your senses. This is especially important if you’re stuck in a low mood.  Aim for movement that engages your arms and legs as well as your sight. Hiking along a scenic trail, for instance, is a great way to break the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression. You’ll feel invigorated in body, mind and soul!

Buddy up. Pairing up with someone to regularly stroll through the neighborhood, visit an indoor skating rink, or chase Frisbees, for instance, is one of the best ways to stay motivated to move!

If your anxiety, depression or other mental health issue persists, don’t wait to talk to your practitioner or a qualified counselor. These issues can be addressed through counseling, medication and lifestyle changes.