I’m heading to Montreal this week for a few speaking engagements on exercise and it’s role in the treatment of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. Blitz has been privileged to work with some local physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists in developing treatments for mental illnesses and we want to spread the word. We’ve all experienced the mental benefits of exercise whether it is providing more energy, stress relief, greater self image, or a slew of other things it’s one of the best natural drugs you can take. What we may not realize is the overwhelming amount of changes to our brains undergo as we maintain an active lifestyle and how this is applied to mental health.
A staggering 21.3% of Canadians that will suffer from mental illnesses over their lifetimes and an estimated cost of around $14 billion dollars annually is spent in treatment around the world. Mental illnesses affect families, workplaces, and communities so it can’t be seen as a personal issue. It is a complex one too. It is a group of illnesses in which the interaction between a person’s genetics and environment that ultimately lead to their surfacing in a person. When we talk about environment we mean a multitude of things in a person’s life: location, work, family, friends, nutrition, and activity levels and the list can go on. Brett was recently interviewed about the decreased activity levels in teenagers but we should also be aware of its strong association with the rise in mental illnesses.
I’ll be talking about how exercise should be included in any mental health treatment for the following reasons:
1) Hormesis: it’s been shown that the breakdown of muscle fibres during exercise increases the production of antioxidants and repairs damaged DNA. This leads to a decrease in diseases like athreosclerosis, heart diseases, and mental illnesses. It also serves to increase your immune system!