Exercise And Mental Illness
I feel it important to discuss this topic because I have seen, first hand, the destruction mental illness can cause - not only mentally and physically to its subject, but also the strain it places on their friends and loved ones.
An increase in mental illness awareness has exploded in the 21st century.
Thanks to science, we know a great deal more when we talk about depression, bi-polar, seasonal affected disorder and other mental illnesses.
One area of study, albeit with limited research, provides supporting evidence that the decrease in Vitamin D in populations with decreased sunlight can contribute to mental illness (think Calgary during the winter!).
Exposure to sunlight accounts for over 90% of the vitamin D requirement for most individuals;
unfortunately, Canadians experience limited exposure to sunlight during the fall and winter months.
This compounded with the heightened stress around financial and personal situations, (as well as other factors) can lead to an increase in suicidal tendencies and other negative outcomes due to mental illness.
It is important to know how crucial physical fitness is in manipulating neurotransmitters in the brain.
Exercise is the number one ‘drug’ that can be prescribed, benefiting more than just mental illnesses.
In most cases exercise programs sustained over a period of time can lead to complete success in rehabilitating from illness.
In other cases, neurotransmitter-manipulating drugs better know as anti-depressants, which act on dopamine, serotonin and other neurotransmitters are necessary.
Studies have shown using these drugs and performing exercise in conjunction can greatly increase mental health and, in some cases, reduce the dosage and reliance of prescription drug use.
It’s a tough time for Alberta, and I urge readers to be aware of friends and family who may be suffering to discuss options available.
We at Vagus Fitness want to create a community of support, and that starts with us creating a positive atmosphere of physical fitness and educating our members to identify signs of mental illness in their friends and family.
Encourage people to stay active over the winter, increase vitamin D acquisition/consumption and pursue some form of physical fitness.
Helpful Hints –Vitamin D: Low vitamin D levels can lead to softening of the bone, which results in pain and the possible onset of osteoporosis, as well as rickets in children.
Five foods for increasing vitamin D:
· Liver oil
· Fortified Orange Juice
· Fortified Oatmeal