Woman Running on Bridge

I am an avid runner and have been for many years.  It has always been as much for my mental health as my physical. I always knew that I felt better after my runs and that it helped me through some stressful days, whether work or home life related.  There is ongoing science about the amazing benefits of regular exercise. It can have an effect as beneficial as medication in reducing depression, anxiety, panic disorders and many of the other stressors that we don’t want in our lives.

John J Ratey, MD is a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist and professor. He has written a book called “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.” Dr. Ratey says:

“I tell people that going for a run is like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin because, like the drugs, exercise elevates these neurotransmitters. It’s a handy metaphor to get the point across, but the deeper explanation is that exercise balances neurotransmitters — along with the rest of the neurochemicals in the brain. And as you’ll see, keeping your brain in balance can change your life.”

I often tell patients to set a schedule for WHEN they will exercise each day, not IF. If it’s a matter of when in the day it will happen, it already sets us up the precedent that exercise is part of your daily habit. I’m not encouraging that everyone should run for their exercise, but we all must move more!!

Lara Gamelin, MD

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