Exercise is about more than keeping
in shape. It also can help with your emotional and mental health. Exercise can
help you improve your self-esteem, keep your mind off problems, and give you a
sense of control. In general, people who are fit have less
depression, and stress than people who are not
Moderate exercise is safe
for most people, but it's a good idea to talk with your doctor before increasing
your activity. Anyone age 65 or older should talk with a doctor before
Start slowly, and gradually increase how much
Stop exercising if you have severe pain, especially
chest pain, or severe problems breathing. Talk with your doctor about these
People who are likely to have high anxiety or panic may
have an episode during exercise because of the buildup of certain body
chemicals (such as lactic acid) from exercise. If you have any problems during
exercise, talk with your doctor.
Tips for being active
It can be hard to be active
when you feel depressed or anxious or have a mental health problem. But
activity can help you feel better, so do your best to find a way to be active.
It's fine to start with small steps. You can build up from a few minutes a
Don't overdo it. Start with simple exercises,
such as walking, bicycling, swimming, or jogging.
Warm up your
muscles for about 5 minutes before you start exercising. To do this, you can
walk, slowly move your arms and legs, or do simple muscle stretches.
Use the talk-sing test to see whether you're exercising at the
If you can talk during exercise, you're
If you can sing during exercise, you can exercise a
little faster or harder.
If you are not able to talk, you're
probably exercising too hard. Slow down a bit.
Cool down for 5 to 10 minutes after you exercise.
It's okay to do some stretching exercises during cooldown.
water before, during, and after exercise.
Get regular exercise but
not within 3 or 4 hours of your bedtime. This might make it hard to fall
You can make daily activities part of your exercise
program. You can:
Walk to work or to do
Push a lawn mower, rake leaves, or shovel
Vacuum or sweep.
Play actively with your
children, or walk the dog.