Sometimes the biggest hurdle to jump is crossing the starting line.

There has been a lot of research proving the benefits of exercise to improve moods and relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, when suffering from depression or anxiety, it can be hard to get motivated and just thinking about rigorous exercise can be overwhelming.

Regular exercise releases feel-good endorphins and other chemicals in the brain that can enhance your sense of well-being. This positive coping strategy can also help to take your mind off negative thoughts, build confidence, and get more social interaction.

Research shows that 30 minutes or more of daily exercise, three to five days a week, may significantly improve depression or anxiety symptoms. Activities could include running, lifting weights or another formal activity. But even smaller acts of physical activity, like taking the stairs or going for a short 10 to 15-minute walk may make a difference.

Summer is the perfect time to start a new exercise plan, it’s staying committed to that plan that can be a challenge.  Virginia Gay Hospital and Clinics recommend trying these six tips to stay committed to your routine:

  • Identify what you enjoy doing.

When it’s an activity you like, you improve the likelihood that you’ll want to continue and do it again.

  • Get your providers support.

Discuss an exercise program or physical activity routine with your primary healthcare provider and how it fits into your overall treatment plan.

  • Set reasonable goals.

Think realistically about what you may be able to do and begin gradually.

  • Don’t think of exercise or physical activity as a chore.

You’ll be more successful if you stay positive and think of it as one of the tools to help you get better.

  • Analyze your barriers.

If you think about what’s stopping you from being physically active or exercising, it may allow you to find solutions to those obstacles.

  • Prepare for setbacks and obstacles.

Give yourself credit for each step you take in the right direction, no matter how small.

Virginia Gay Hospital and Clinics provide professional care by professionals who care about you. Be sure to check with your provider before starting a new exercise program to make sure it’s safe for you. Learn more about our primary care providers and clinics located throughout Benton County at www.myvgh.org.