Everyone who’s physically able can benefit from regular exercise. It can ease the symptoms of mild depression and anxiety, and help in losing weight and lowering high blood pressure. Improved fitness makes you feel good about yourself and helps you sleep better.
However, conditions such as depression can make just getting out of bed hard. This isn’t because you’re lazy – it’s because you’re ill. But don’t despair: there are many things you can do that will pay big dividends.
You don't have to train like a top athlete to get results. Start gently. A walk around the block’s great, especially with someone else to keep you company and get you into the sunshine. Then you can slowly build up. What you’re aiming at eventually is doing of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most, preferably all, days of the week. Moderate intensity means doing anything that causes a slight increase in your breathing and heart rate: fast walking, playing actively with children, taking the stairs, cycling, dancing and mowing the lawn will all do the trick. You can even break your 30 minutes into ten-minute sessions.
If you haven’t done much exercise before, smoke, are overweight or have heart disease or another chronic health problem, you should talk to your doctor before starting a vigorous exercise program.
People living with bipolar disorder should be aware of the possibility of over-exercising while they’re in a phase of mania.