Exercise is the best drug for many common ailments, from psychiatric disorders to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

-Jordan Metzl, a sports-medicine physician at New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery and author of The Exercise Cure

I want to emphasize that I and our entire team at Lift and Live Fitness has great respect for the mental health community.  And I want to be clear – we are fitness professionals.  We are not are not mental health professionals and we are not qualified to treat clinical mental health conditions.  However, as personal trainers, it is our training philosophy that the body functions as a whole.  And is it our experience that as a person improves overall health through improving physical fitness and nutrition, mental health conditions may right themselves as well.

The Science Behind Fitness Improving Mental Well Being

When struggling with anxiety, depression, or mood, most people think “therapy”, not exercise and certainly not nutrition.  Nutrition, Exercise, and Rest – the 3 components of any complete fitness and nutrition plan – have the power to affect every system within the human body, including the way the brain functions.

We utilize the power of proper exercise, nutrition, and rest to improve your mood and how you feel.

Fitness training has the power the increase blood flow and oxygenation in the brain, as well as change brain chemistry that is correlated with mood struggles such as anxiety and depression.

Endorphins are only one of many neurotransmitters released when you exercise. Physical activity also stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These brain chemicals play an important part in regulating your mood.

For example, regular exercise can positively impact serotonin levels in your brain. Raising your levels of serotonin boosts your mood and overall sense of well-being. It can also help improve your appetite and sleep cycles, which are often negatively affected by depression.

Regular exercise also helps balance your body’s level of stress hormones, such as adrenaline. Adrenaline plays a crucial role in your fight-or-flight response, but too much of it can damage your health.

Exercise can have other mental health benefits too. For example, focusing on your body’s movements during exercise may help distract you from upsetting thoughts. Setting and meeting exercise-related goals may also boost your confidence and sense of control.

When you exercise with other people, it can provide mood-boosting social benefits.   from Healthline

Nutrition – what you eat and the nutrients that food/drink contains – can empower your body to build and balance hormones that help regulate the way your brain works, and therefore the way you feel.  Likewise, poor nutrition has the power to perpetuate feelings of fatigue, anxiousness, and depression by de-regulating chemistry in the body and brain.

 

Our Approach

Our philosophy is based on the principle that mental health challenges are rooted in a chemical imbalance or decreased blood flow with the brain.  Our approach to working with clients to improve overall mental wellness conditions is geared towards balancing overall body chemistry and increasing overall oxygenation and blood flow:

  1. Implement Balanced Nutrition – There are myriad research studies exploring the ideal diet for avoiding and treating specific health conditions.  Mental health has been found to benefit from increasing specific nutrients within the body.  We work with you to shift your diet towards to optimum diet for your specific condition(s).
  2. Train for Improved Metabolic Function – Cardiovascular training improves function of the heart, lungs, and blood vessels, and fat metabolism (when fasted).  Resistance training improves metabolic hormone function and sex hormone balance.  We work with you to integrate the proper balance and intensity of cardiovascular and resistance based exercise into your routine (as well as the proper amount of recovery time).

    It is very common to exercise without sufficient intensity to trigger a response from that body that will have a positive impact on hormones.  With exercise, proper intensity is everything to get the results that can improve your health safely.

 

What Clients Have Experienced

I used to feel tired, anxious, and generally not good.  I started personal training (at Lift and Live) for back pain.  I never expected my mood to improve, not need my afternoon naps, and actually enjoy working out.  Thank you!  …and my back rarely hurts anymore – only if I do something stupid!

-Stephanie Chautin, 38 year old mother of 2

A Final Note

Many insurance companies and employers reimburse for memberships to fitness facilities.  In certain circumstances, you can even get a prescription from your doctor for resistance training (or strength training), and attend personal training for a co-pay.  Please call your HR department and your insurance company to discuss which benefits are available to you for achieving optimal health.

In our experience, the average person will be reimbursed $150-$600 per year for fitness memberships.

If you would like your insurance company to cover fitness and nutrition services at a higher rate, please submit that feedback to them.  You can encourage friends and family to do the same.  Your voice is your vote.

If you would like professional mental health help, we highly recommend Sadar Psychological and Sports Center for counseling and/or alternative to medication biofeedback training.